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Pullman streets’ protection sought

Tue., April 16, 2013

WSU students say brick roads historic

Washington State University students believe that two brick streets in Pullman’s College Hill neighborhood are worth preserving and listing on the city’s new historic register.

A group of students taking a historic preservation seminar in the WSU School of Design and Construction will be making a presentation on the idea this afternoon on the WSU campus.

The presentation will be at 4 p.m. in Room 204 of the Compton Union Building. The presentation is being done in conjunction with the College Hill Association.

J. Philip Gruen, associate professor, said Northeast Palouse and Northeast Maple streets were investigated by the students as part of a civic engagement project. The two streets are the last remaining brick segments in Pullman.

The streets were paved with brick in 1913 as part of an effort to provide a high-quality route from the former Northern Pacific Railway depot to the campus on the hill. Brick was chosen for the steepest part of the climb, but the route itself was selected because it offered the easiest grade, Gruen said.

“It’s been enlightening for the students,” he said.

Preservationists in Pullman have been trying to get historic listings for a relatively new historic preservation program there. The intersecting brick streets are considered good candidates for both the local and national registers.

While many cities, including Spokane, Walla Walla, Dayton, Cheney, Harrington and Colfax, have local historic registers and preservation programs, Pullman just two years ago was certified by the federal government to offer preservation services. The listings come with tax incentives for restoration.

Placing public streets on the register would not come with tax incentives.

Property owners can have a building’s assessed value reduced through a special valuation offered by the program. In turn, the broader community benefits by improvements and in increased tax collections when the 10-year incentive period expires.

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