By Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer
After more than a year of work, the draft National Register of Historic Places nomination materials for the proposed East Atlanta Historic District is now available for public review. Visit the East Atlanta Community Association website at www.eaca.net to review the draft form and some of the voluminous historical documentation that has been compiled as a part of this effort.
In 2016, the East Atlanta Community Association (EACA) voted to support the documentation of the area generally bounded by I-20, Moreland Avenue, and Skyhaven Road/Eastland Road/Fayetteville Road as part of a greater effort to potentially formally nominate the neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places. EACA, with the help of generous neighborhood benefactors, sponsored the effort that produced the draft document now available for review. This document was compiled and authored by students in Georgia State University’s graduate program in historic preservation and neighborhood volunteers.
Listing East Atlanta as a historic district in the National Register would create additional options and incentives for retention of the community’s historic character, without imposing any regulation on property treatment, transfer, or development, or restriction of property rights.
The National Register of Historic Places is our country’s official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. Currently, more than 82,000 historic properties in Georgia are listed in the National Register. At this time, the Zuber-Jarrell House on Flat Shoals Road is East Atlanta’s only National Register-listed property. The National Register recognizes both individual properties and groups of properties that were related historically, which are known as historic districts. National Register-listed historic districts in East Atlanta’s immediate vicinity include Reynoldstown, Kirkwood, and Candler Park.
Properties listed in the National Register may qualify for specific benefits and incentives, including: state and federal investment tax credits; state and federal preservation grants for planning and rehabilitation; eligibility to donate preservation easements to nonprofit organizations; and county and local property tax abatements,
Most of these benefits are predicated on rehabilitation of a listed property. For example, if East Atlanta were listed as a historic district in the National Register and a property owner was interested in rehabilitating one of the village’s historic commercial buildings, that owner could potentially qualify for a federal tax credit equal to 20% of rehabilitation costs, and/or a state tax credit equal to 25% of rehabilitation costs. Additionally, they could potentially qualify for county and city of Atlanta property tax freezes. However, these programs are all optional, so property owners could also demolish the buildings in question or change their properties in any way, subject to no additional regulations or restrictions than exist today.
While the students and neighborhood volunteers have done extensive research to document East Atlanta’s history sufficiently for nomination, anyone who has ever researched history knows that there is always another potential lead, source, or fact. In addition to research, this effort has thus far included two public presentations and a “history night” during which members of the public were invited to provide documentation and suggestions. This current review opportunity is the public’s chance to review the resulting draft nomination materials, ask questions, and provide additional suggestions.
If the National Register nomination effort advances, presentation of the draft nomination to the State of Georgia’s National Register Review Board is anticipated to occur in August of this year. As such, the deadline for submitting comments and suggestions on the draft materials is August 1. Please submit comments and questions to Stephanie L. Cherry-Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to receiving your comments and ideas.