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Abingdon considers plan to expand town’s Old and Historic District to match state register

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ABINGDON, Va. — Abingdon officials are considering a plan to expand the town’s Old and Historic District.

It’s a proposal to make the town’s historic district match the map of the Virginia Historic Landmarks register, said Town Manager Jimmy Morani.

Mayana Rice, the town’s director of community development said, “As part of the preservation plan, we are looking at the areas that exist within the town’s Old and Historic District and [comparing] it to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which is its own historic district boundary.”

The district runs along Main Street and Valley Street and ends on Troopers Alley and Park Street, Rice said. It also includes boundaries along High Street, King Street, Wall Street and Green Spring Road.

The state’s historic landmarks register contains all of this area but also has boundaries extending east on East Main Street for about 15 properties, Rice said. The state map also extends north to Oak Hill Street for about 20 properties, Rice said.

Additionally, it follows a portion of Russell Road and takes in the William King Museum of Art, according to Rice.

“We are looking to speak to the owners who are in the state’s historic overlay district but who are not within the town’s Old and Historic District,” Rice said.

One reason to extend the district is “economic vitality for the town of Abingdon,” Rice said. “It’s a draw for tourism. It enhances the downtown. It’s the look and feel and really what defines Abingdon from other communities.”

Currently, Abingdon’s Historic Preservation Review Board is looking at matching the two to also provide tax credits, Rice said.

“The town has certain tax credits,” Rice said. “The goal would be to look at whether or not expanding the district to match the state’s district would better align the tax credit programs offered by the state and town.”

These tax credit programs allow a property owner to take a reduction for certain improvements or maintenance costs, Rice said.

At this point, the possible expansion of the district is being studied by both town staff and the Historic Preservation Review Board, Rice said.

“The process for this type of expansion would be a zoning map amendment,” Rice said. “We have no timeline for implementation.”

Morani echoed that this is all in the planning stages.

“The town’s goal is to help educate property owners on the potential benefits of being in the Old and Historic District,” Morani said “Ultimately, Town Council wants feedback so it can make an informed decision.”

The town manager added that the town will hold a public information meeting soon to provide educational materials and collect feedback from those interested.

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