Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Final workshop set on design guidelines

January 19, 2000

Work is continuing on creation of design guidelines for the Tonganoxie business district.

Representatives from downtown businesses and the community last week attended the second of three design guideline workshops.

Elizabeth Rosin and Sally Schwenk, representatives of Historic Preservation Services of Kansas City, Mo., are working with members of the business community to develop a set of design guidelines that businesses who dip into a $120,000 revolving loan fund must follow.

The fund is intended to be used by businesses looking to make improvements to their buildings.

The fund, which was created as part of the downtown renovation project, will provide low-interest loans for the rehabilitation of the exterior of buildings downtown. Those business or property owners who do not borrow from the fund will not be required to follow the design guidelines. Those who do borrow from the fund will have to follow the guidelines.

At last week's workshop, Rosin and Schwenk showed slides of buildings that have been renovated in Kansas City and other downtown areas. Audience members discussed what they liked and disliked about the buildings.

The two women discussed the 10 Standards for Rehabilitation that should be followed when rehabilitating historic buildings.

"Where they are used consistently, property values have stabilized," Schwenk said. "And 95 percent of the time, they increase."

"Creating a false sense of history can be done beautifully," Rosin said.

But, it can also be done distastefully. It is hoped that helping the city create these design guidelines will ensure that this is not done.

"Size, scale, massing and color are all important," Schwenk said. "We only have guidelines so that irreversible damage isn't caused."

Rosin said she hopes that those who attended the workshops now can view downtown from different perspectives.

The final workshop is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 1 in council chambers.

"We will get into the meat of things," Rosin said.

An architect will attend the workshop to show what she thinks can be done to improve the look of the buildings downtown.

She will also be available to discuss what will and will not work in Tonganoxie and to help with ideas.

"We want to prove this really does work," Rosin said, "and is flexible enough to adapt to a small town or urban streetscape."

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