50 Years, 50 Stories

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Published Dec. 24, 1993 in The Ledger Independent

Nearly five years after the Maysville Historic District was former, officials are considering expanding its boundaries.

But members of the Maysville Architectural Review Board, which regulates the appearance of buildings within the district, say they face an image problem — or, in some cases, the lack of an image.

“Some people know we exist, but most don;t know what we do,” said Bob Horch, chairman of the Washington board and a member of the Maysville board.

The Maysville board is expected to consider extending the boundaries of the downtown district in coming months, said Mark Brant, Maysville codes enforcement officer. A consultant was hired two years ago to survey downtown and suggest areas which could be included in the historic district.

Some areas expected to be considered for inclusion are Cox Row on Market Street and Armstrong Row on West Second Street, Brant said.

Two review boards were formed to oversee the city’s two historical districts — one in downtown Maysville and another in Old Washington. The Maysville board was formed in 1989 under the leadership of then-Mayor Harriett Cartmell. The Washington board came into being as part of the Maysville-Washington merger in 1991.

Both areas appear in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Register of Historic Places, commonly referred to as the National Register, The aim of districts is to ensure that the properties are kept as closely as possible to their original condition by regulating changes to the buildings’ exterior appearance, Brant said.

Many times that means the boards will encourage property owners to ‘retain and repair as many of the buildings’ original elements as possible without replacing them, he said.

The boards oversee such things as putting up signs, replacing doors or windows and installing outside lights. One item which is not regulated by the board is the painting of the buildings which have already been painted, although the board must approve painting of structures which are not already painted, Brant said.

Property owners or tenants making changes to their buildings must apply, with a description of the work to be done. The architectural review board considers the application and, it it approves, issues a certificate of appropriateness.

Barbara Clarke, a member of the Washington board, said the historical value of areas such as the Washington districts lies in the fact that is is “all original” rather than reconstructed.

That is a big selling point with tourists who are creating a “major industry” in this areas, she said.

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