Oil City Council Gives Main Street Program Go-Ahead on Volunteer Design Guide for Historic Structures

| February 15, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The Oil City Council gave permission to the Oil City Main Street Program to start the process of creating a volunteer design guide for historic structures in the City.

“They would be volunteer guidelines,” Kathy Bailey, Main Street Manager, said. “Oil City has an abundance of historic architecture in its three National Register-listed historic districts. Although many owners of these properties have worked diligently to provide proper care and maintenance of their buildings, many others either do not realize the importance of preserving the historic character or do not know where to start when making improvements.”

Bailey said while some municipalities – Franklin is one of them – have Historic & Architectural Review Boards (HARB) that mandate how buildings in historic districts are renovated, rebuilt and built, Oil City’s would be a volunteer program, more of a guideline.

“We have had requests for something like this,” Bailey said. “It reinforces our efforts to make Oil City downtown and surrounding areas as nice as we can.”

Bailey said what the Main Street Program hopes to accomplish is a set of guidelines that can direct property owners on how to restore and build properties in the City that would keep with the historic nature of the areas they are restored and built in.

“It could include improvements on existing structures, guidelines for new construction, site improvements, and even street-scape activities,” Bailey said.

According to Bailey, the Main Street Program will set up a steering committee to set the guidelines. The steering committee will include business owners, commercial businesses, and residential property owners.

According to Bailey, the Main Street Program is looking to obtain funding to set up the program.

“It will cost between $25,000.00 and $45,000.00,” Bailey said. “We aren’t asking the City for any money. We will be looking for funding sources, applying for grants.”

The Council said considering the guidelines would be voluntary and the program wouldn’t cost the City any money, they saw no reason not to give it a try.

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