Downtown Mount Pleasant in talks for historic honor, residents ask for preservation

Arin Bisaro | Staff Photographer Downtown Mt. Pleasant is a mecca of local business. Downtown is loaded with places to eat and things to buy.

Albert Wallace has been to seemingly every business in downtown Mount Pleasant over the last 10 years, from daily trips to the Isabella Bank, to occasionally grabbing a sandwich from Max & Emily's Eatery.

Now, his beloved city is in the early stages of possibly earning the historic honor of becoming a national historic area.

Paperwork is being prepared to be sent off to Washington D.C. to nominate downtown Mount Pleasant to be added to the National Register of Historic Places, a list of national historic areas which are worthy of preservation.

“It sounds like a great honor, as long as they don’t change the bank,” Wallace, a Mount Pleasant resident, said. “My wife and I try to come downtown every weekend because it is so beautiful, but sometimes we can’t because of the bad weather.”

Michelle Sponseller, the downtown development director, has been putting together the documentation needed for a nomination. She knows that being added to the National Register of Historic Places will be beneficial to the city and its property owners.

“It would open up availability to historic tax credits, which property owners would receive when they do improvements, as long as they adhere to the historic guidelines,” Sponseller said.

In the long run, she hopes that if the nomination is accepted, property owners will upgrade their buildings, which will add to the appeal of downtown Mount Pleasant, and ultimately give the city more attention and attraction.

Sponseller said the decision was made to go after a national historic nomination instead of a local nomination.

“The thing about going for the national history nomination is that the owner can do anything they want for their building,” Sponseller said. “The local level has guidelines for things such as color choices and window types which is more heavy-handed for our property owners than we wanted.”

Downtown Mount Pleasant meets the necessary guidelines required for a property to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places, which includes being at least 50-years-old as well as being significant enough of a property in relation to historic importance.

Mount Pleasant resident Lisa Schneider is proud that her town is up for the distinguished recognition.

“This town deserves it with all of the great businesses and people,” she said. “I always come here with my kids to see plays at the Broadway Theatre and we occasionally grab lunch at Dog Central after.”

As of now, documentation is being prepared for the nomination and is planned to be sent off to Washington D.C. in the early summer, in hopes to have a response by August.


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