Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

October 3, 2012

City of Kokomo sets aside preservation funds

It’s hard to blame Kokomoans for having a certain stoicism when it comes to tearing down historic properties.

After all, how many of the industrial relics of the Gas Boom-era survive? The industrial work of the city ebbs and flows, and the river of commerce leaves behind rust and rubble.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, however, lives in the middle of the old Silk Stocking district, an amalgam of older homes just west of downtown, where surviving Victorian mansions — some from the Gas Boom era — stand next to subdivided rental properties and homes which might have once had architectural integrity, but have succumbed to bad remodel jobs.

It’s a neighborhood that might have been something a great deal more than it is, if Kokomo had taken steps long ago to protect the historic features of the buildings.

That’s part of why Goodnight asked — and the Kokomo Common Council agreed — to set aside $300,000 this year to protect historic properties in Kokomo.

The amount itself isn’t enough to do much, but it could serve as a local match or as seed money for state and federal grants.

And Goodnight already has a few ideas of where the money could be used.

The old Douglas school at Bell and Elm streets, where Eleanor Roosevelt once visited, sits awaiting renovation. The Central Railroad depot on Buckeye Street downtown is still in use by the railroad, but local officials have eyed the property for years as a possible redevelopment opportunity.

There is the old Kokomo-Center Schools administration building, and there is the newly acquired old ice house building on South Main Street, next to the Wildcat Creek.

The city also has a $600,000 brownfields redevelopment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which can be used to develop cleanup plans for old industrial sites.

Button Motors, the OmniSource scrap yard, the former Southside Lumber yard next to Wildcat Creek, the Northern Indiana Supply Co. building on South Main Street and property formerly owned by Delphi Corp. on Home Avenue were all listed as potential redevelopment sites on the city’s application for the EPA grant.

“We don’t have any projects per se, but I think it’s important for our community,” Goodnight said. “I think if we have an opportunity to save some old structures, we should.”

Goodnight has already stepped in to preserve at least one old structure downtown, when the city declined to issue a demolition permit for the former Firestone Building at Mulberry and Union streets.

And he’s seen preservation efforts pay off in the past, particularly a couple blocks from his house, where the Seiberling Mansion and Elliott House are home to the Howard County Historical Museum and the offices of the Howard County Historical Society.

“The Elliott House and the Seiberling Mansion were in decay three or four decades ago, and a group of people stepped up and made sure that didn’t happen,” Goodnight said.

The city has been in discussions with the owners of the downtown train depot, but the building is still in use by the railroad. The administration right now is content to wait and see what projects will be possible.

In keeping with the city’s debt-free status, Goodnight said he would like to pay for historic preservation projects in cash.

“We’ve done a good job of paying cash for two fire stations, but we also needed to put some money aside for capital projects,” he added.

The Kokomo Common Council would have to vote to appropriate any of the historic preservation fund, and there are no plans to spend any of the money right now.

But looking at the broken windows at the old school administration building, and other old buildings around town, it seems there will be plenty of opportunities for historic preservation in the months and years to come.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Bldg Wall Collapse 01 KipCor purchases partially collapsed downtown building A building that has long been a part of downtown Kokomo’s landscape will remain intact, but undergo extensive demolition, after being purchased by a company that has been active in the city’s redevelopment efforts. The Barko building, also known as t

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • mopeds Mo-ped law means some scooters now require license With more and more mo-peds hitting the streets, police are having a hard time enforcing new restrictions encompassed in the new scooter law. Mo-ped drivers can still cruise the streets and roads on their two-wheel machines, but the new state law, whi

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Supreme Court observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking of next chief INDIANAPOLIS — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure in the leadership post. Another surprise may be in store when his replacement is named. A seven-member panel

    July 29, 2014

  • Council committee to present dog ordinance draft Aug. 11 Kokomo Common Council committee members will provide a draft of proposed changes to its dog ordinance at its Aug. 11 meeting. The release date for the draft was pushed back following a committee meeting where 25 members of the public aired their conc

    July 29, 2014

  • NIPSCO donates $50K to YMCA campaign The Northern Indiana Public Service Company donated $50,000 Tuesday to the Kokomo Family YMCA's Beyond the Bricks campaign to build a new Y in downtown Kokomo. "The Y is a great resource for the community, so we're glad to help it grow and add to the

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana BMV asks court to delay vanity plate sales INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to continue its suspension on sales of vanity plates until a court case is settled. The Indiana attorney general's office announced Monday it ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Fatal wreck UPDATE: Woman killed in overnight wreck near 31-931 split

    One person was killed late Monday night in an automobile accident involving a car and semi-trailer truck in the northbound lane of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time. Commissioner Teresa Lubbers on Monday kicked off a

    July 29, 2014

  • Commission postpones rezoning vote for Functional Devices land TIPTON — Residents of Prairie Acres subdivision will have to wait at least two more weeks to learn the fate of a pair of zoning requests from Functional Devices. At Monday’s regularly-scheduled bi-weekly county commissioners meeting, city-county plan

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois man leads police on high-speed chase PERU — An Illinois man driving at speeds of 120 mph led officers from three counties on a high-speed chase Sunday before crashing into a utility pole. Peru police say Isaac K. Hoefling, 31, Lamont, Illinois, was first pulled over by Howard County dep

    July 28, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries