BV in running for National Register
The Berryville Commercial Historic District has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
Frances McSwain, director of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, announced Thursday, April 7, that the Berryville district was one of nine Arkansas properties nominated to the national register during the April 6 meeting of the AHHP State Review Board. The Berryville Commercial Historic District was chosen, McSwain said, for featuring buildings dating back to the 1880s.
Attorney and former circuit judge Gerald "Kent" Crow, a member of the Berryville Restoration Committee, said that the nomination was the result of a collaboration between the committee, Mayor Tim McKinney and the Chamber of Commerce. McKinney recalled when the process began last year, saying it started with a group of people interested in revitalizing the Berryville square.
"We thought something like this would give property owners some tax incentive without being too restrictive," McKinney said.
The committee presented the proposal to business owners within the Commercial Historic District, McKinney said, and everyone voted to move forward with the plan.
Crow said the state sent representatives to survey the area and to conduct meetings with the property owners. The survey team identified buildings in the district considered to be
historically significant, Crow noted, and labeled others as "not contributing."
The state accepted the district's nomination and sent it to Washington, D.C., to be reviewed for national approval. Crow said he believes the nomination will be accepted at the national level, saying he looks forward to the opportunities the recognition will bring to Berryville.
"We think it will be a slam dunk. First and foremost, it's an advertising and promotion milestone. Being on the register lets us promote ourselves as a historic community," Crow said.
He continued, "Hopefully it will make more people want to stop in Berryville and see what we have to offer."
Being on the historic registry will also provide tax incentives for property owners, Crow said, to restore these historic buildings.
"It all helps preserve the area and keep a traditional look downtown. It's one step in the improvements we're making to the square and will hopefully encourage new developments in the area," McKinney said.
McKinney thanked the members of the Berryville Restoration Committee for all their work, saying none of this would be happening without it.
"They're the ones who spearheaded this project," McKinney said. "Berryville wouldn't have received this honor without these people's involvement."