MANATEE -- Five people Tuesday were appointed to a new Manatee County Historic Preservation Board, the culmination of a several-year effort to try to save the area's important historical and archeological treasures.
The five new board members are Aimee Angel; Sandra Jo Forney; Jeffrey T. Moates; Alexander Breitinger; and Stuart J. Roth.
Tuesday's appointments were just one of a number of steps the commission has taken to help protect historic structures, which have been disappearing in increasing numbers as development overtook them.
"I'm proudest of the number of qualified applicants we had who applied to be on the preservation board," said Cathy Slusser, director of historical resources for the office of the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
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"I think it will be a very strong board that will provide leadership as we move into the future," she said.
In October, the county earned a designation as a "certified local government," which will allow it to grant properties "significant historic landmark" status, and to apply for grant funding if it's available, said Kathleen Thompson, the county's planning manager.
The designation also permits the county to apply for technical assistance from the state, she said.
Only the property owner can apply for landmark status, Thompson said, but the designation stays with the property if it sells to someone else.
"It shows our county's commitment to saving what's important from the past for the future," she said.
Earlier this year, the board passed its first historic preservation ordinance, designed to encourage preservation and proper maintenance of historic structures, said Slusser.
A final piece is in the works: Tax incentives to help owners of historic properties as they restore them.
"I'm eager to see it passed," said Slusser. "That's the last component we'll need."
If a property owner invests in a building in order to do historic preservation, his or her investments will not affect the property tax bill over a 10-year period, she said.
"In order to qualify, they would go before the historic preservation board," said Slusser.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twittercface fontname="Regular" naxe="0" iaxis="0"/>