Rosin Preservation Knows Main Street

Economic activity is paramount to a successful downtown, and historic preservation efforts are proven to return direct results. Rosin Preservation has extensive experience helping communities of all sizes harness the power of historic preservation to enhance the unique sense of place that can help Main Street thrive.

In this series, we share our insights and highlight successful strategies through case studies and project-specific examples of preservation in action.

1. Develop a Baseline: Survey

Rosin Preservation completed a historic resources survey of Westport, Kansas City’s oldest extant neighborhood. Settled as an outfitting stop on the Westward Trails, the area has multiple, individually-listed properties and is locally acknowledged and appreciated for its associations with frontier-era development. Yet, many community members were surprised that Westport has no formal historic district designation. Previous historic surveys in 1975 and 1982 studied sections of Westport, but the 2017 effort was the first survey to comprehensively examine the broader boundaries of the Westport Planning Area. In addition to providing a point-in-time snapshot of Westport, the survey recommendations prioritize preservation activities for this area that can be a valuable tool to help guide future development in Westport.

2. Designate to Protect and Incentivize

Understanding the types of historic resources that exist in a community is the first step toward harnessing their power. Creating a National Register historic district is the next critical step. Not only are historic buildings eligible for federal historic tax credits (and a companion state-level tax credit in 35 states), but federal regulations require that impacts to National Register buildings and districts be considered when an undertaking is planned. Your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) often offers grants to support designation efforts. When a new flood plain designation threatened historic downtown Schuyler, the city applied for a grant from the Nebraska SHPO to nominate its downtown to the National Register, and hired Rosin Preservation to complete the project.

3. Involve Local Stakeholders

Rosin Preservation prepared a National Register nomination for a historic district that includes 59 buildings in the commercial core of downtown Altus, in southwest Oklahoma. Because the project was initiated by a developer pursuing historic tax credits, getting buy-in from other local stakeholders was critical to the success of both the rehabilitation and the nomination. Rosin Preservation worked with Main Street Altus and the Altus Chamber of Commerce to engage the local community, educating property and business owners, as well as city officials, about the benefits of creating a historic district and the ability to use state and federal historic tax credits to support rehabilitation projects in the new historic district.

4. Revisit Historic Status

Most of downtown Denison, Texas forms a historic district, but the National Register nomination prepared in 1983 did not specify which properties were contributing resources. This lack of clarity became problematic after passage of the Texas state historic tax credit, which is only available to buildings that are identified as contributing. The new incentive provided impetus for the city to hire Rosin Preservation to resurvey the district and clarify which historic resources have access to this valuable economic incentive.

5. Integrity Revealed

A thoughtful re-examination of buildings in an existing historic district can identify resources that may previously have been overlooked as non-contributing. While improvements cannot add integrity to a building, reversing non-historic alterations can reveal integrity and warrant updating a property’s non-contributing status. Rosin Preservation worked with the owner of a commercial building in the Clinton, Missouri downtown historic district to update their status from non-contributing to contributing, helping them access historic tax credits to support a rehabilitation.


Dody Building

6. A Tailored Strategy

Every Main Street community has a unique story to tell. No two communities have the same built environment, opportunities or challenges. Tailoring a strategy for preservation planning will help your community convey—and capitalize—on its unique narrative. Rosin Preservation offers a free desktop review to assess current historic resources and districts and to identify opportunities for future efforts. Tell us your challenges and we’ll give you customized recommendations. Give us a shout today at