First historic district comes to Jefferson City

2 years 2 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, September 05 2018 Sep 5, 2018 Wednesday, September 05, 2018 2:03:00 PM CDT September 05, 2018 in News
By: Tana Kelley, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City Council approved the first local historic district Tuesday.

According to Jefferson City's city website, the historic district includes 28 homes on E. McCarty, School and Lafayette streets. 

Tuesday was the application's last chance. It originally went to city council in January, but was denied due to a lack of signatures. The application was put on the informal calendar in August when they added an amendment after some people were upset that it did not include Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Some critics of the application said the houses were not historic.

Others argued that since it is on a FEMA floodplain, homeowners would not be able to renovate. Homeowners have to follow the Substantial Improvement rule that prohibits construction projects on the homes that are worth more than 50 percent of the assessed value of the home.

According to Jenny Smith, the woman who submitted the historic district application, the FEMA rule just means that homeowners have to get a waiver from the Public Works department. They will give waivers on a case-by-case basis, said Smith. Smith said the waiver is a waste of time.

“These houses have been standing for more than 100 years, through many floods,” Smith said.

However, Smith is just excited the application was approved.

“We are relieved. It has been a long process,” Smith said. “I think it is good. It brings in attention to area revitalization.”

She first thought of this plan in 2017 after she saw that the city was going to tear down homes in that area. She saw that many of the homes in that area were linked to The Foot, Jefferson City's once black business and residential district.

Sheila Reed, a resident living in the historical district, did not know much about the classification of historic or what that means for renovations.

“I really didn’t know what it meant at first when [our landlord] told us it was a historical site,” Reed said. “We knew it was old, but not like that.”

However, she said her family is just happy they live in an old home.

“I thought it was pretty awesome that we lived in here. The kids thought it was too,” Reed said.

(Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included information from the Jefferson City News Tribune. KOMU 8 News has since separately confirmed that information.)

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