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Alliance, Ohio, Wants To Preserve History To Help Build Its Future

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Alliance Historical Society
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Alliance City hall was dedicated on December 30, 1915. Now it's the Court House.

Quite a few of the buildings in the heart of Alliance, in eastern Stark County, haven’t been in use for a long time.  So they still look a lot like they did a century ago.  And that may be one of the reasons why the city is seeking a historical district designation for its downtown.

 

Richard Lott, Community Development Director for Alliance, says the city and the Alliance Historical Preservation Commission are applying for the historic designation along with the Ohio History Connection.

Being placed on the National Register of Historic Places could give would-be property owners and developers access to federal and state historical restoration tax breaks. Those tax breaks could work as an incentive to redevelop the properties. 

And, Lott says, the fact that buildings have never been updated makes them attractive to investors.

“Downtown Alliance kind of reminds me of the Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati," Lott says. "It’s an area that appears to have been neglected for the most part. So you see a lot of the original architecture, the architectural detail, the characteristics of the buildings. So that’s actually kind of great.”

Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati is a nationally known success story for historical redevelopment.

Joseph Mazzola, the city's development director, says the designation could help Alliance because of its downtown's unique history.

The Alliance Review reports Mazzola said downtown never functioned as a major thoroughfare for cars but instead was located near the railroad.
 
Mazzola says the goal is to market downtown as a place of destinations, such as the city's Cat Fanciers' Association Foundation Feline Historical Museum.