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The community of Neligh has always had its own story to tell, but the history that downtown brings might just be enough for Neligh to be considered a historic district in the state of Nebraska.
Neligh is one of the several cities in Nebraska that has applied to be a part of the National Register. A grant given by the National Park Service covers the nomination process and the research needed to determine if the downtown area is historic. Rosin Preservation stationed in Kansas City, Missouri, received the project bid.
The National Register process takes about six to nine months to complete. In June, Rosin Preservation will make a site visit conducting archival research. Research will include walking the district to view each building for historical material and if it appears to contribute significant historical reasons. They will also hold a public meeting to discuss with community members what the National Register process means for Neligh.
Photographs will be taken by Brad Finch to research the history of each building. After the process ends, the nomination will be drafted and submitted for review by the City and State. The draft is then presented to the State Historic Preservation Board for review at a public hearing which will be in September. If approved, it will go to the National Park Service who determines if it should be a listed district. The decision is final by the end of the year.
Benefits of the National Register designation includes individual property owners and the community as a whole. The honorary designation can attract redevelopment in the community. It also provides access to Historic Tax Credits. Property owners interested in the substantial rehab of their historic buildings will be eligible for State and Federal tax credits on costs associated with remodeling.
Rachel Nugent, project manager for the Neligh National Register nomination, explains that the designation is strictly honorary. Owners of the buildings are not required to make improvements to their building nor expected to open their building up for tours or as a museum.
“They can still do what they wish with the building,” said Nugent. “It is the carrot without the stick.”
A meeting will be held June 7th at 5:30 PM at the Neligh Senior Citizen Center for more information about the upcoming downtown Neligh national register historic district. The meeting will discuss the benefits of national registry listing and review the national register process.