Richmond Hill residents push for historic designation
by Patrick Kearns
Aug 11, 2017 | 410 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of the Richmond Hill Historical Society are pushing to have a portion of their neighborhood designated a historic district by both city and federal agencies.

The group is working with Councilman Eric Ulrich, who secured a grant to study the boundaries of a possible historic district, which is made up of distinct Victorian and Tudor-style homes.

“Our mission statement is promote the the neighborhood and help people understand what happened in the past, so they know best how to sort of develop the neighborhood in the future,” said Ivan Mrakovčić, president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society.

Richmond Hill is one of the nation’s first garden-style suburbs. In the late 1880s, it consisted mostly mansions catering to a wealthier business class, but as the public transit system grew so did the neighborhood’s middle class.

That growth also lead to some historically interesting architecture.

“The houses are in the funky place in history where new meets old,” Mrakovčić explained.

According to Mrakovčić, being a part of the National Register of Historic Places will make available more grants and tax abatements.

“If you put in a new roof, you get rebate money, so it lessens the cost of major improvements, which is a tangible benefit to have,” Mrakovčić said.

Back in May, the historical society held a public meeting with Ulrich and the Historic Districts Council.

“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

Mrakovčić is tempering his immediate expectations. He acknowledged that the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is stretched thin, and outer-borough locations typically have a harder time getting a designation. But they do at least have the backing of the councilman.

“Eric for sure is very enthusiastic about this,” he said. “He’s promoted this idea. He would be championing it.”

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