PAWV sent this letter to Parkersburg's Design & Facade Review Committee the day before its meeting on February 14, 2018. The subject of the meeting was to vote on whether to approve the proposed demolition of the historic Citizens Bank Building located at 401 Market Street. During the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to approve the demolition of the structure. The committee is comprised of Mayor appointees.
Dear Parkersburg Central Downtown Business District Design & Façade Review Committee,
On behalf of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV), the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, I am requesting the committee to table the proposal to demolish 401 Market Street and allow for public comment and additional discussion regarding WesBanco’s redevelopment project. Part of PAWV’s mission is to advocate for sensitive development and design that incorporates historic buildings such as the Citizens National Bank Building and to preserve existing structures that are the keys to downtown redevelopment.
When expanding this study beyond a 1 block radius, the ratio of building footprint compared to pedestrian and vehicle space dwindles even more (see aeriel view above). This is a common trait of unsustainable and unhealthy cities. It is our opinion that parking lot will not improve the economic climate of the City, however, WesBanco can become a leader in enhancing the historic downtown through their effort. Additionally, there are financial incentives for redevelopment and national trends that can be replicated in Parkersburg in which the building located at 401 Market St. can be preserved while meeting the parking and thoroughfare needs of WesBanco. I have included some of these ideas at the bottom of this letter.
As the statewide nonprofit supporting historic preservation, we can provide many ideas in favor of preserving this historic building in an attempt to convince the committee to vote to table this proposal and even vote “no” to the proposal, but ultimately, I urge you to listen to your citizens. Over 500 people have signed a petition asking you to vote “no” to this proposal. It is important to your residents that you preserve what is left of the downtown. It is a treasure, and it is a place that matters. That is why PAWV chose Parkersburg as its host town for the upcoming West Virginia Historic Preservation conference bringing dollars and energy into your community; you have a lot to offer and potential for redevelopment.
You have active residents that care about historic preservation, and this is an excellent opportunity to show forward thinking for future generations.
Thank you for your service and consideration,
FINANCIAL INCENTIVE – HISTORIC TAX CREDIT
The Citizens National Bank Building has been vacant for over a decade, and its redevelopment has been financially unfeasible in the past. However, as of January 1, 2018, West Virginians can take advantage of a combined state and federal historic tax credit of 45% on income-producing properties. Prior to this increase, the combined state and federal historic tax credit was 30%, but a 45% tax credit on qualifying construction activities (interior and exterior) is a major incentive for banks and property owners to rehabilitate historic properties like the Citizens National Bank building.
Tearing down the Citizens National Bank Building for a parking lot and alley is a short-term answer to a vacant building problem that can be incentivized now for redevelopment. Please run the pro-forma again for redeveloping this property using the historic tax credit figures, and this property could be marketed for rehabilitation in a prime location in downtown Parkersburg. PAWV would be happy to lend its services in reconfiguring a pro-forma to demonstrate whether redevelopment of this building is possible now that the historic tax credit is 40%. And if WesBanco also needs additional space for offices, 401 Market St. offers prime street front and first-floor space that can be redeveloped using the historic rehabilitation tax credit. The bank has acquired and redeveloped a historic property at 33 N. Third St. in Columbus, Ohio. The WesBanco Regional President Lisa Robinson was quoted as saying acquisition is a “huge new step for WesBanco”, and we encourage the committee and WesBanco to work together to consider something similar for Parkersburg.
PARKING GARAGE INSTEAD OF PARKING LOT?
According to Parking Consultant, Gerard Giosa, “Surface parking gobbles up so much land that it begins to negatively affect the character and walkability of a downtown business district. An 800-car parking garage can be constructed on a piece of land that is just 120 feet wide by 270 feet long, and it can be tucked into the center of a downtown block and surrounded by existing and new buildings so that it is hardly visible from the street. By contrast, if we wanted to provide those same 800 spaces in a surface parking lot, the parking lot would have to be the size of four and a half football fields! And it’s almost impossible to assemble that volume of contiguous land in an existing downtown setting.”
There is a service parking lot already connected to the WesBanco property, and a parking garage across the street from the WesBanco property. Has WesBanco considered building a parking garage and thoroughfare on its existing surface lot if the bank has identified that additional parking is needed? This parking garage may even serve as an additional incentive for redevelopment of 401 Market St. Although the up-front costs of the parking garage are more expensive, estimated in 2013 by Giosa at $21,000 per parking space versus $3,000 per parking space in a surface lot, the parking garage can attract additional development by meeting parking needs for the redevelopment of 401 Market St., as well as providing additional parking for the Blennerhasset Hotel. Over time, the parking garage can pay for itself through monthly and day parking for employers in the downtown area.
 Gerard Giosa article can be accessed at http://buildabetterburb.org/financing-parking-garages-qa-with-parking-consultant-gerard-giosa/
Monica Miller, President of M Miller Development Services, recently joined the board of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia. After a career in state government, most notably managing the Main Street West Virginia program where she worked with businesses and community leaders statewide, Monica is putting her vast experience to work as a small business owner specializing in community economic development, downtown revitalization, organizational management and development, planning, facilitation, fundraising, speaking engagements and advocacy.
Monica has served in various leadership roles in preservation at the state and national levels. She managed the Main Street West Virginia program for over 20 years. Prior to that she worked for West Virginia’s premier state parks system. She was the founding chair of the National Main Street Coordinating Programs Executive Committee, is chair emerita and current member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Board of Advisors, represented Main Street and the Advisors on the National Trust Board of Trustees where she was vice-chair of the Community Revitalization Committee, and currently serves as the campaign chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Fund for the National Trust. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences.
When asked about her interest in preservation, Monica says that communities that capitalize on their unique assets, architecture, small businesses and leadership are attractive to residents, investors and tourists. The connection of place is important to economic development whether attracting industry or other development. It all comes down to great communities being more economically viable.
Thank you, Monica, for being a part of our team at PAWV!
The Mon River Trails Conservancy is needing to sell 10 crates of roofing slate (some used, some new) and are in a time crunch. It is being stored at a project site in Masontown, WV which is soon to become a restroom for the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail. The organization had considered using this slate for a new roof but now have shifted to a different plan. The organization has set up a Craigs Listing to sell the slate, but you can contact Ella Belling directly for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to Craigs List Morgantown:
PAWV is accepting nominations for the 2018 West Virginia Endangered Properties List. Nomination forms are available here (MSWord). Nominations are due at 5pm on Friday, March 16, 2018, to email@example.com.
Guidelines for the nomination process include the following:
1)There must be a degree of endangerment from one or more of the following:
2) The property must be listed in, or be eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places.
• Properties not listed in the National Register of Historic Places (as either an individual site or a contributing structure in a historic district) must submit a completed Historic Property Inventory Form to the WV State Historic Preservation Office to determine eligibility. The form is available at: http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/forms.html
• Once the property is deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, please submit both the Historic Property Inventory Form and the documentation of eligibility as part of your Endangered Properties Nomination.
3)There must be evidence of significant local support for preservation of the property, including three (3) letters of support.
March 16 - Application deadline at 5:00pm to firstname.lastname@example.org
March 23 - If you have not received a confirmation from our office that your application has arrived, call 304-345-6005 to inquire.
March 30 - PAWV Endangered Properties committee meets to review nominations- You may be contacted by PAWV staff to schedule an initial site visit as part of the review process, or to request clarifications or additional materials. Please make sure there is someone at your contact number/email to receive and answer questions or provide materials, if necessary.
April 27 - Applicants will be notified of their status in regard to the nomination.
May - Special announcement and press conference for the West Virginia Endangered Properties List at a date and location to be determined.
The West Virginia Endangered Properties List is a collection of historic resources that are in danger of being lost, although they are good re-use candidates for their communities. The goal of this program is to encourage property owners to rehabilitate their properties while preserving our shared heritage.
The alliance revived its endangered list program in 2009 with a competitive nomination process and with technical assistance provided to the stewards of the selected properties. Technical assistance includes on-site visits from experts, guidance in preservation projects and assistance in organizing clean-up days, hands-on workshops, or other skilled preservation activities.
Learn more about the properties that were formerly on the endangered list but have graduated to saved at http://www.pawv.org/endanger/category/status-saved. To talk more about this program, contact Anna Lynn Stasick at email@example.com or by calling 304-685-8119.
The National Park Service's Save America's Treasures (SAT) Grants Program has been funded at a $5 million level for FY2017. SAT grants provide preservation and/or conservation assistance to nationally significant historic properties and collections. Grants are awarded through a competitive process and require a dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match, which can be cash or documented in-kind.
All applications are due through grants.gov on February, 21, 2018.
Visit www.nps.gov/preservation-grants/sat/ for directions on the application procedure, grant amounts, and more information.
From the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
Not only are the Johanna Favrot Fund and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund now offering up to $15,000 in grant funding, but they are also covering brick-and-mortar projects—a unique feature to these two funds within the National Trust Preservation Funds grant program.
Find out how you can take advantage of these new changes to the grants program to make enhancements within your community. Applications are due March 15.
Which Fund is Right for You?
Full criteria, eligibility examples and applications can be found at the National Trust for Historic Preservation website online.
The purpose of the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program is to promote historic preservation, economic development, revitalization, and heritage tourism in West Virginia through historic resource development projects.
Site sponsors across the state hosting current Preserve WV AmeriCorps members range from museums, libraries, and historical theaters to historic landmarks commissions and Main Street organizations. For the 2018-2019 AmeriCorps service year, PAWV expects to receive a grant award of at least 30 members, configurable into half-time or full-time as needed. Preserve WV AmeriCorps members will serve a minimum of 950 or 1,750 hours between August 2018 and August 2019 (with an opportunity to renew for a second year).
The Randolph County Board of Education voted Tuesday, January 16, 2018, to transfer ownership of Homestead Elementary School, in Dailey, to an area group that plans to utilize the facility as a center for the community.
The Tygart Valley Homestead Association gained ownership of the school and its 17 acre tract following the board’s vote.
Homestead Association president Tom Rennix said the group hopes to have something to offer for everyone.
“We want to have programs there for elderly people, we want to have programs there for school children — even possibly an after school program for kids,” he said.
He added the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is working to create a questionnaire to release to the public to gather input from residents about what they would like to see happen at Homestead.
Before the board’s vote, members raised a number of questions including the possibility of the gymnasium at the school being utilized and the parking of buses on the property.
“We’ll likely enter into a lease situation with them so that the gym can be used for Tygart Valley Middle School girls basketball as of right now, and if they need it for other children’s programs – not even for sporting events; if they need to possibly make arrangements for other purposes, we can work with them on that,” Rennix said. “Most of the buses are diesel now, so there is an electrical station there where the buses have cables they plug into their engines for heaters. So, we’ll enter into a lease situation with them so they can park their buses there and use the electricity.”
Read the remainder of the story on the Inter-Mountain website at www.theintermountain.com/news/local-news/2018/01/homestead-elementary-transferred-to-local-group/
Efforts to nominate a former coal-mining town in southern West Virginia to the National Register of Historic Places could spur economic growth there, according to a spokesman for three development agencies engaged in the effort.
Once a mining boomtown, Helen, with a population near 125 residents, is among the last coal camps that remain in the mountains southwest of Beckley, and financial incentives for historic rehabilitation there would be provided if the nomination succeeds.
According to Kyle Bailey, Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, who is conducting the survey to nominate the community, financial incentives such as grants and tax credits will supplement the costs of expenditures needed for property repairs and improvements.
The nomination would also secure the community's status as historically important on official state and federal levels, he said.
"This would help homeowners and other property owners in Helen fund tasks such as replacing the roof, preserving the windows, and updating electrical systems," Bailey said.
"Helen could once again experience growth and expansion, especially in light of recreation initiatives, such as the development of hiking and ATV trails, and transportation initiatives, such as the completion of the adjacent Coalfield Expressway."
A joint effort by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, and the Winding Gulf Restoration Organization, the effort builds on projects already established in the town, including the development of a Coal Miner's Memorial Park and the stabilization of a historic apartment building there.
Helen was recently selected as a stop along the African American Heritage Auto Tour, sponsored in part by the coal-heritage authority, and wayside that interpret the town's history will soon be installed, Bailey said.
Like other camps of the Winding Gulf Coalfield, Helen experienced rapid growth through the early and mid-20th century. Mines there produced some of the highest quantities of coal in the state, and by 1940 almost 2,000 people lived in the town.
Bailey, who grew up in a coal camp in nearby Amigo, is a member of the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program, a statewide service initiative established to help communities capture their history and preserve beloved West Virginia landmarks.
We're pleased to share that the 20 percent federal historic tax credit (HTC) was retained in the final tax reform bill. Keeping the federal historic tax credit as a permanent part of the tax code is a significant victory for the historic preservation community—especially considering that the first House version eliminated the credit.
We owe this success to the thousands of advocates who rose to the occasion and made your voices heard, as well as to the leadership of key members of Congress. We are particularly grateful to Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) for exhibiting strong leadership during this process.
News and Notes
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