June, 2011

Julia-Ann Square seeks additional funding

Walking tour brochure available

As reported in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel:
Representatives of the Julia-Ann Square Historic District showed their updated walking tour brochure, thanked Wood County commissioners for past funding and submitted a request for an additional $2,500.
Katharine Brown, with the Julia-Ann Square Historic District Association, told county officials the brochure had not been revised since it was initially put together in 2002.
“This committee has invested hundreds of hours of research in the writing, editing and photography for the brochure. Most of us have graduate degrees in relation to history, teaching experience and we volunteered our professional expertise to make this possible. We wanted to do this as our gift to the community. The association paid for the design and layout, and the commission’s contribution was used to have the brochures printed,” Brown said. She owns the Chancellor-Burwell-Lowe House (1878) at 904 Juliana St., which was home to her great great-grandfather.
Brown said the district draws tourists from all over the country.
“The district is one of the principal reasons people come to Wood County and Parkersburg, and tourism is an economic development tool,” she said. “I believe there are few areas that can match the quantity and quality of historic architecture we have in our district.”
Updated brochures for the walking tour of the Julia-Ann Historic District are available in boxes within the district, including the entrances, Oil and Gas Museum, Blennerhassett Museum, Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wood County Courthouse and Blennerhassett Hotel.
“We are hopeful when it comes time to reprint the brochures we can get some funding assistance from you all for that,” Brown said.
John Martin, president of the district, noted the commission’s past funding contributions helped create the walking tour brochures, DVDs, period street lighting and gateway arches that welcome visitors to the district.
“The next project in our continuation to restore the district is the replacement of deteriorating sidewalks, currently under construction with completion expected this summer,” Martin said. In a letter to the commission, the district requested an additional $2,500 to be used to continue production of the walking tour brochures.
The square was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
The association is a tax-exempt, nonprofit entity. The group has developed a master plan. The first phase was installation of gateway arches at the entrance. Park benches were placed throughout the district. The next phase includes replacement of deteriorated sidewalks. The association was awarded $15,000 in Community Participation Grant funding along with funds from the county commission. The district has allocated an additional $15,000 in matching funds to start the project. They hope to complete the sidewalk project this year, noted Kathryn Harris, district treasurer.
The association sponsors various fundraisers throughout the year including a Christmas Tour of Homes, Spring Garden Tour and Riverview/Cook Cemetery Tour. Annually the group distributes approximately 4,000 tour brochures.
The website, which was redesigned during the past year for the district, can be found at www.juliannsquare.org to view homes, gardens and future tour information.
Commissioner Steve Gainer agreed the district is one of the area’s tourist attractions.
“We had company here over the weekend and we took a tour all around the area, which included a drive up Juliana and Ann Streets. They were really impressed with the preservation of the older homes, and we were quite proud to show it to them. It is a beautiful area,” Gainer said.
“The county commission has in the past, and will continue to be in the future, very supportive of your efforts. We were quick to set up a funding source for you through our hotel/motel tax. From time to time you have asked us for funding and we’ve always provided it. I don’t think there is any change in the commission’s will that you are a wonderful example of what neighbors can do for neighbors. We’ve seen that start to take place also in the Washington Avenue area as well. We are always in favor of any events that promote the history of our area,” said commission President Blair Couch.

Category : In The News

Neighborhood good for tourism

The Julia-Ann Square Historic District recently conducted its annual Garden Tour and Tea. It was a great success for the neighborhood, bringing in needed proceeds, which help to enhance the district.
Many may not realize, but the district’s residents have had an active homeowners’ association since the 1970s. This association meets monthly to discuss business, coordinate neighborhood activities and money-raising events such as Christmas and garden tours.
The association is a not-for-profit entity, thus subject to government rules and regulations. Residents volunteer their services managing the association and sitting on community boards in various positions. Recently the association has been involved in obtaining grants to help supplement the proceeds brought in from our events.
The district’s master plan, finalized in 2002, called for several improvement phases to the neighborhood. One of the final items in the plan is sidewalk restoration. The sidewalks were in a deteriorated condition for several years.
Combined with grant money awarded to the district from the state and county, district residents’ contributions and the association’s matching amount, the district, in partnership with the city of Parkersburg, are repairing the sidewalks. This is a wonderful example of how all the stakeholders can benefit when they work together to preserve and maintain a valuable asset in the city.
The Julia-Ann Historic District is a large draw for tourism in Parkersburg and together with many other historical elements and groups in and around Wood County, help bring needed revenue to city and county coffers through taxes and other fees generated by small businesses, retail establishments and tourist attractions.
The Julia-Ann Historic District residents appreciate those who attend our events and help to keep the district alive. We would also like to recognize those who understand the value of a neighborhood such as ours and how it contributes to the vitality of Parkersburg and Wood County.
Ruami Dyck
Parkersburg

Category : In The News