Keeping charm of city’s flavor is focus of design guidelines
Retaining a sense of character in the downtown Tonganoxie area was the focus in developing a set of design guidelines. Now a first draft is complete.
A rough draft of these guidelines was distributed to those who attended a meeting with representatives from the Historic Preserva-tion Services last Wednesday.
Commercial property owners who choose to borrow from a low-interest revolving loan fund of $120,000 to rehabilitate their buildings will have to follow set guidelines.
Historic Preservation Services have worked with members from the downtown business district during the past few months. This included three workshops offered to obtain feedback from community members. Represen-tatives from the company then developed design guidelines, based on feedback from participants at the workshops and based on the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
"We chose these standards to guide us because of their good track record," Sally Schwenk, a representative from the firm, said. "The property value has almost always stabilized in areas that have used these standards. Their track record proves that they work. They are fair and impartial to use."
Three primary issues were dealt with in this rough draft of guidelines. One is the rehabilitation of existing buildings. The second addressed new construction and additions. And the third focused on exterior features and open space.
For the rehabilitation of existing buildings, Schwenk recommended ways of making improvements and things to avoid in the process. The guidelines addressed different types of materials, including exposed brick and masonry, painted masonry, stucco or masonry covered stucco, concrete, replacement of missing masonry features, synthetic siding and architectural metals.
"We tried to give a list of specific materials and what should or shouldn't be done with them," Schwenk said.
Schwenk discussed some of these materials at the meeting.
"Brickwork in older buildings has a lot of pizazz," Schwenk said. "You can reinforce and retain this."
To improve the look of exteriors, the guidelines suggested ways to improve roofs, storefronts, doors and entrances, windows, decorative ornamentation and color.
Schwenk said that Tonganoxie has wonderful storefronts. She said that provides a sense of openness which is what is wanted in a downtown commercial area.