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Historic Landmark Commission receives historic structure compilation

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Members of the Wrightsville Beach Historic Landmark Commission received a compilation of 344 potential and designated historic structures from 2012 data during the Monday, May 12 meeting.

A field survey was conducted from July through August 2012.

Former town intern David Graybill inserted the information into a spreadsheet, including the street names, property owners, year built, notes for the structures and links to pictures.

Vice Chairwoman Robin Spinks said the purpose of the inventory was to inform the commission about possible properties that could be historically designated in the future.

Members agreed they should weed out certain properties that would obviously be ineligible for historical designation.

Member Susan Collins said she counted 120 properties with major or multiple modifications and 50 properties listed in the incorrect age group.

Collins said it may be good to have the information for properties that are not 50 years old for reference to look at in about five years.

Those already designated are marked in blue on the spreadsheet, including the Trolly Stop, the Churchhill cottage, the Wilmington Light Infantry Club and more.

“The No. 1 thing was not age but historical significance,” said Tony Wilson, parks and planning director, about the successful historical designations.

He said they also take into account factors like the family and architect. From the list, Wilson estimated a handful or up to 20 properties would meet the historical significance criteria.

“That’s why you’re required to have the study done by a professional,” Spinks said. “…We also had the discussion last time about how proactive we need to be.”

Collins, a former member of the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen, said the board’s concern was that everyone would come forward at once, consuming the tax credits.

“You want it to be an exclusive situation that’s important,” Spinks said.

Members expressed an interest in having some of the commercial properties downtown designated after a comment from Spinks about the big picture standpoint of preserving history.

“There are still some tax credits available for that at the state level,” she said.

Spinks asked Wilson how much a study by a historian would cost, and they agreed it would be at least $2,000.

Before the next meeting at 4 p.m., Monday, July 14, town staff will reduce the list, telling members what properties they removed and why. Then, commission members will divide the list and mark properties to watch, with town staff updating the list every six months.

“I’d be glad to take the ones that are in my neighborhood that I know a lot about,” Collins said.

Nancy Faye Craig was absent from the meeting.

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