Historic downtown designated federally as well

THE U.S. SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR now agrees with the state of Wisconsin, and they both confirm what those of us who live and work here already knew – downtown Plymouth is a historic district.

The designation for much of the area from the 100 to the 400 block of East Mill Street was recognized as an officially designated historic district by the Wisconsin Historical Society earlier this year. Last month, the National Parks Service, as expected, endorsed that designation.

The immediate benefit is that it makes tax credits on both the state and federal levels available to the owners of buildings in the district who complete historically-eligible renovation, remodeling or reconstruction projects.

That means that up to 40 percent in tax credits on eligible projects.

The first beneficiary of these tax credits will be the Redevelopment Authority’s effort to rehabilitate the vacant 133 E. Mill St. building. The projected $200,000 tax credit that project is now eligible for is a key part of the $1.2-million designed to converted a blighted building into a cheese-themed store and heritage center that will celebrate Plymouth’s status as the “Cheese Capital of the World.”

But the benefits of the new designation should spread beyond that building and throughout downtown – and from there, through the entire city – before long.

In their confirmation of the historic district designation, the National Parks Service called downtown “one of Plymouth’s most architecturally intact historic commercial areas. The buildings within the Downtown Plymouth Historic District are well preserved and have much of the same appearance today as they would have when they were originally constructed.”

With the designation, that appearance and legacy can be more easily assured for future generations as well.

The National Parks Service went on to say that the downtown buildings are

“(r)epresentative of the march of prevailing architectural styles of the era in which they were constructed – Italianate, Commercial Vernacular, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Twentieth Century Commercial and Contemporary styles.”

All of us will have several opportunities over the next few weekends to visit downtown for special events and get a first-hand look at the charm and heritage that earned downtown Plymouth a historic district designation.

Whether you visit Mill Street Fest this Saturday or the Family Fun Day the following Saturday – or better yet, when you come downtown for both events – take a little time to look around and look up to take in the variety of styles and features that make downtown Plymouth officially what we always knew it is – historic and charming.

Congratulations to the RDA, city officials and Legacy Architecture Inc. of Sheboygan for initiating and successfully completing the process of gaining historic district designation for downtown Plymouth.

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