We will develop a comprehensive strategy for the identification, retention, preservation, and revitalization of the city’s historic, cultural, and architectural resources. Oklahoma City has nine locally designated historic districts, and four locally designated individual landmarks. Additionally, the city has many other historic and architectural resources, including nearly 100 properties and over two-dozen districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many more potential local or National Register districts and landmarks. We need to improve our understanding of the extent and condition of our existing historic resources and consider the state of current practice and the impact of current development patterns, existing policies, and regulations on those resources. A comprehensive historic preservation plan will identify future preservation and rehabilitation focuses, and establish the basis for new and improved policies, review guidelines, and incentives to conserve our spectrum of historic assets in the built environment.

A historic preservation plan also has another significant function: increasing public awareness and knowledge of preservation and its role in community development. Educational programs should address three objectives:

  • Increasing community understanding on the role of preservation and support for specific programs.
  • Increasing knowledge and competence of property owners as they work on historic properties.
  • Educating owners and developers on the process, potential markets, and available incentives for preservation projects.

We will create targeted incentives for preservation processes, aimed at potential obstacles. The historic preservation plan will recommend new tools to help deliver real projects. Some of these tools may include low-interest or forgivable loans, Tax Increment Financing, historic tax credits, preservation easements (the first of which was recently accepted), and expedited review processes. These strategies should focus on two general areas: financing gaps created by some of the contingencies of historically appropriate preservation and adaptive reuse, and concerns by developers about delays or uncertainties during the project development process.

We will revise and adopt new ordinances that ensure consistency in the review of projects that affect historic properties. All historic preservation programs involve the review of projects. Every case is different, and the review process must deal with difficult issues such as economic feasibility, level of deterioration, impact of change or even loss of a building on a neighborhood. Establishing consistency in this process ensures a strong program.