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Morrison historic district effort takes step

State agency says proposal meets criteria

MORRISON – The effort to get the Main Street district on the National Register of Historic Places has received a good review from a state agency.

The Morrison Historic Preservation Commission reported this week that the Illinois Preservation Agency made an initial assessment that the proposed Morrison Main Street Historic District meets the criteria for a federal listing.

The Illinois agency is the one charged with the responsibility of being the gatekeeper for the U.S. Department of Interior. The state agency found that the local district meets two measures for listing.

The district, the agency said, “is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of history” and “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction ...”

Tim Slavin, the Morrison commission chairman, said his group is thrilled with the state agency’s opinion.

“We just received the ‘green light,’ and now it’s full steam ahead,” he said in a news release. “This gives our fellow citizens all the more reason to take pride in the community in which they live and gives even more hope for what lies ahead.”

In taking its action, the state agency set the boundaries of the district, which includes most of the properties on Main Street from Orange to Madison streets.

Slavin said he and other commission members were “completely happy” with the proposed boundaries.

“We had been urging the IHPA to include the old Farmer’s Elevator complex and the old Livery Stable along with its former feedlot across Orange Street,” he said in the release. “Unfortunately, because of notions of commercial consistency, compactness and contiguous boundary issues, we were unable to convince them to embrace those edifices and that space, but we are ecstatic at everything else that is being recognized.”

Now, the local commission must complete its full application, which will require members to do research, Slavin said. After that, it could take a few months for a hearing before the state agency. Then the matter will go to the U.S. Department of Interior for consideration.

Slavin wouldn’t venture to guess on how long the entire process would take, saying many factors are at play.

The National Register is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Merely being within a national historic district, Slavin said, doesn’t bring any rules or restrictions with it. In fact, he said, studies show property values within such districts increase, encouraging investment in building improvements.

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