It’s official - downtown is a historic district

IT’S NOW OFFICIAL, AT least according to the state of Wisconsin – and soon it will be on a national level as well.

Plymouth’s downtown earned official designation as a historic district from the Wisconsin Historical Society last month. The National Parks Service is expected to endorse that designation sometime in the next couple of months.

It just confirms what we here in Plymouth have known for a long time – we have a historic, charming and attractive downtown.

While it’s nice to have that affirmed officially, the designation will have an important impact for downtown.

It makes available tax credits – on the state level now and, once the National Parks Service adds its endorsement, on the federal level – for owners of buildings in the district who do historically-eligible renovation, remodeling or reconstruction.

One of the first recipients of that new benefit will be the ongoing efforts to restore the vacant building at 133 E. Mill St.

The projected $200,000 tax credit that project will now be eligible for is a key part of the $1.2-million financing package designed to bring new life to what is now a blighted building.

The Redevelopment Authority and the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. are partnering to convert 133 E. Mill St. into a cheese store/museum and apartments.

When that comes to fruition, it will add another jewel and another attraction to downtown Plymouth.

The historic district designation can be sought for other neighborhoods in the city as well, creating an economic tool to preserve and enhance the many historic homes and buildings throughout the city.

The historic district designation is the latest step in the ongoing effort to revitalize and re-energize downtown Plymouth.

It’s been almost five years since the Walldogs rocked the Cheese Capitol, creating nearly two dozen wall murals throughout the downtown in a one-week blitz that brought the community together in support.

Over the past two years, downtown has benefitted from the efforts of a dedicated downtown manager, Randy Schwoerer. He has provided the impetus and the direction for promotional efforts and events that have helped bring new visitors and new customers to downtown Plymouth.

Add in the growing support for reviving and maintaining downtown from city government, largely through the efforts of the Redevelopment Authority, and it’s easy to see why downtown is headed in the right direction.

But it’s a momentum that has to be nurtured and encouraged, continuously.

With tourism continuing to grow throughout the county, more and more visitors will be coming to and exploring Sheboygan County in the future. Downtown Plymouth should be one of the attractions on their list of places to visit.

Keeping the effort to enhance downtown moving forward will be key to achieving that goal.

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