Draft Historic Preservation Plan now available

A draft of the anticipated Washington County Historic Preservation Plan, that will map out county and associated cities’ historic buildings and sites, is complete.
 Work on the plan, prepared by dozens of volunteers in three cities, began about 10 months ago under the direction of the Washington County Historic Preservation Commission. The plan was commissioned by the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council and funded as a result of the “adverse effect resolution of the Section 106 review that occurred when the ITD initiated planning for the Cove Road Bridge over the Weiser River,” according to a flyer posted on social media.
 “It was October when we got this thing going, so it’s taken some time to get to this point,” said Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee Chairman Tony Edmondson. “I’m hoping we will have this more or less wrapped up by the end of the calendar year.”
 Edmondson said a group of about 25 people from Weiser, Cambridge, Midvale, and the Mann Creek area helped with the plan.
 “We also reached out to the high school at the end of last school year to get a group of students involved to get their input,” he said. “The people we are doing this for is, in part, for the kids, the future generations, so they needed to have some say-so, too.”
 The project was funded with mitigation money from the eventual removal of the historic Cove Road Bridge east of Weiser. The bridge is in need of extensive repairs and has been deemed by ITD (Idaho Transportation Department) too costly to update and repair. The corrugated steel truss bridge was built in 1917 and was reconstructed in 1992. It is roughly 249-feet long and 21-feet wide, according to BridgeReports.com.
 It was last inspected in 2018, the report citing several deficiencies, stating a need for, “replacement of bridge or other structure because of substandard load-carrying capacity and substantial bridge roadway geometry.”
 It would cost an estimated $2.4 million to repair.
 Washington County Road and Bridge Supervisor Jerod Odoms in December said the bridge will be in use with weight restrictions until it is eventually removed in the next two to three years.
 Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, the federal government provides mitigation dollars to counties and cities that must, to their detriment, remove historical structures. The county received $40,000 of the estimated $2.4 million cost of repair. The county and ITD agreed the money would be best spent on an Historic Preservation Plan aimed at identifying the area’s historical landmarks to preserve history for future generations.
 “The Historic Preservation Plan is basically a vision; The closest thing I can liken it to is the city’s comprehensive plan,” Edmondson told commissioners in an update during a Nov. 22, 2021 meeting. “It states that this is who we are, and we’ve identified all these historic resources that we know about in our community, we’ve mapped them out and listed what they are, so the public, or anybody, has at a quick glance an understanding of what’s out there.”
Plan available to public
 The draft plan is available for public view electronically or in person at one of two libraries.
 “We are encouraging folks to go online and take a look at the draft of the Historic Preservation Plan that we have been working on,” Edmondson said on Thursday. “We’ve also created a small display, which is set up at both the Cambridge and Weiser libraries along with a couple printed copies of the plan that folks can take a look at in person.”
 Edmondson said there is also a drop box and comment cards at the libraries for those wishing to leave a comment.
 Viewing the plan electronically is easy: using your smart phone, simply scan the QR code provided. You can also visit https://washington-county-historic-preservation-plan-gatewaymapping.hub.....
 “We don’t envision a lot of changes,” Edmondson said. “We are just looking for particular comments – maybe we missed something – and if there is anything relevant or useful, we will certainly incorporate them.”
 The final copy will be available on the county website.
Additional news
 Due to the Labor Day holiday, the Weiser Architectural Preservation Committee Board meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. in the courthouse basement meeting room. The joint Washington County and City of Weiser Historic Preservation Commission meeting will follow at 5 p.m.  The public is invited to attend both in person or via zoom at:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83137075515?pwd=bTR3UytFYWU4bk8rZDJwYkhPQ2ViQT09.


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