Florala seeks historic register status

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Downtown Florala business owners will find out Thursday if their property will be considered for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

The decision will be announced at the upcoming meeting of the Alabama Historical Commission Review Board in Montgomery. Its chairman, Charles “Chuck” Simon of Andalusia, said Tuesday this has been a long process for Florala.

“This has been going on for many years,” Simon said. “If the committee approves it, the nomination will be sent to the Department of the Interior for final approval.”

The proposed historic district is roughly bound on the north by Fifth Avenue; by Fourth Street on the east; on the south by Wood Avenue and on the west by Sixth Street. A complete copy of the nomination – including numeric building addresses – can be found at the Florala Chamber of Commerce on Fourth Street.

Simon said once approval is given to the proposed historic district, the city can then create its own historic district board.

“That board can do as little as they’d like or as much as they’d like,” he said. “A building must be 50 years or older to be considered. (The Florala area) is filled with wonderful buildings.

“What one of the main concerns are is the outer façade of the building,” he said. “The advantage (of being on the register) is that the whole area, once the façade is finished, property values will go up.”

Simon said being on the register does not restrict the rights of the property owner.

“I don’t want people to be scared about this,” he said. “The goal is to get everything looking nice, more desirable.”

There are also significant tax benefits for affected property owners, he said.

“They can also apply for grants and federal funding for their buildings,” he said. “There are just many, many benefits.”

Buildings like this in Florala could soon be placed on the National Historic Register. | File photo