Osceola’s Historic Commercial District has been officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, effective January 19, 2018. The area recognized includes the city square around the Clarke County Courthouse from West Jefferson Street on the south, West Washington Street on the north and bordered on the east and west by South Fillmore and South Main Streets, respectively. Along with sites such has Osceola’s Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Depot, renamed the Fred & Ann Diehl Depot Plaza in August of 2015, and the Banta, J. V., House on McLane Street, the city’s business square is recognized for its historic impact and the value the area provides to the community.
The application for this historic recognition was submitted to the official registry early in 2016 by James Jacobsen, the City’s Architectural Historian. This designation provides businesses and residents owning or occupying the buildings in the area added incentives for renovation and upkeep according to registry guidelines. Some of the incentives that come along with the historic designation include:
- Eligibility for Federal tax benefits
- Qualification for Federal and State grants for historic preservation
- Eligibility for State Tax Credits for rehabilitation
In some cases, rehabilitation projects could gain as much as a 45% refund on project costs, making a $100,000 rehabilitation of a building almost half the costs for the owners.
Check out some of the buildings on the square that have already committed to improvements over the past and helped in the registry’s decision to recognize Osceola’s square:
In addition to the attractive tax credits and renovation benefits, having Osceola’s business district on the register will allow for additional exposure to travel and tourism dollars. Other cities and sites that have this historic designation include numerous bridges in Madison County, the business district in Cedar Falls, Iowa and numerous locations in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction.
“Heritage tourism is huge,” said Derek Lumsden, Director of Osceola Chamber Main Street, “With that and the incentives for improvements, this is going to be very beneficial for the entire community.”
While the square has seen an influx of new businesses in the past few months, this announcement will further entice new businesses looking to be part of a historic area, adding tax value and more revenue to the community. With the recent announcement by the City Council to move forward on infrastructure improvements around the square as well as updates proposed for enhancing the area, the Historic Preservation Commission’s recognition gives the future of Osceola’s square a much-needed boost.