SPRINGFIELD — Officials say they’re seeing an uptick in historic renovation projects in the Springfield area thanks to low interest rates, federal historic tax credits and more awareness of the significance of historic buildings.
Springfield Historic Sites Commission vice chairman Steve Myers said he believes there are more going projects going amid an “increased appreciation for history.”
Lisa DiChiera, advocacy director for Landmarks Illinois, said the historic preservation advocacy group is seeing a rebound from a gloomy real estate market.
“In Springfield and other similar-sized cities, there is an effort being made to tackle key buildings” DiChiera told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register. “These are projects that get noticed and make an impact in paving the way for other things.”
Landmarks Illinois, which announces a list of the state’s most endangered historic places each year, set up a field office in Springfield in 2013. Office director Frank Butterfield said the group has worked with developers, community organizations and others on a number of projects.
Butterfield said historic redevelopment also has been boosted by the expansion of the downtown Central Springfield Historic District, which makes another 83 buildings eligible for tax credits. Springfield isn’t among the five cities where state historic tax credits are available.
Buildings slated for rehabilitation include the Booth, Ferguson and Bateman-Kennedy buildings in downtown Springfield, with a $6 million project planned to include apartments and office and conference space. There are also efforts ongoing to repurpose 130-year-old Ridgely Village Hall.