The city of Joliet is pursuing a national historic district for its downtown.
The City Council on Tuesday approved hiring a consultant to determine the downtown area’s eligibility to become a National Register Historic District.
City officials said, if established, the district would provide incentives for historic preservation but not tie the hands of building owners who want to redevelop or even demolish their property.
Property oversight in a National Register Historic District is looser than under local landmark status, city Economic Development Specialist Derek Conley told the council’s Economic Development Committee when it reviewed the matter in August.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t do things,” Conley said. “It just means if you want to go the extra mile to make [property] historically significant, there are tax credits for you to do so.”
Conley said the estimated time frame for establishing the district is spring 2022.
The district has support from the Joliet City Center Partnership, which promotes business downtown, Conley said.
Interim City Manager Jim Hock told the council before it approved hiring a consultant that property comes under review only when owners seek the incentives.
Joliet now has two National Register Historic Districts in residential areas: the Upper Bluff and East Side districts.
The city has hired McGuire, Igleski & Associates, an Evanston firm that is doing a historical survey of the St. John’s Neighborhood in Joliet, at $19,595 for the first two phases of the three-phase study.