PORTLAND — A proposal to nominate to the National Register of Historic Places a larger area of the site where the 1863 Battle of Buffington Island occurred will be the topic of a public hearing tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. at Portland Community Center, 56896 Ohio 124 in Portland.
Buffington Island State Memorial, located on four acres of the site where the battle occurred, has been listed on the National Register since 1971.
Barbara Powers and Susan Tietz of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office will explain the proposed nomination for the expansion of acreage and answer questions about it. The meeting is open to the public.
A 2009 study prepared for the Ohio Historical Society and the American Battlefield Protection Program to determine the extent of the battlefield found that the four acres currently listed on the National Register is less than one percent of the area on which the battle took place and recommended nominating more of the 1863 battlefield to the National Register.
If the area listed on the National Register is expanded as proposed, it would encompass 1,578 acres roughly bounded by the east bank of the Ohio River, Dry Run Creek, a ridgeline to the west and Laucks Run.
The public hearing is to offer more information about the proposed nomination and invite comments on it in advance of an Oct. 26, 2012, meeting of the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board, a state board which will consider whether the proposed area appears to be eligible for nomination to the National Register.
The National Register lists places that should be preserved because of their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. It includes buildings, sites, structures, objects and historic districts of national, state and local importance.
To be eligible for listing on the National Register a property or district must be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, or be associated with the lives of people significant in our past, or embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction, or represent the work of a master, or possess high artistic values or represent a significant, distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction (e.g. a historic district), or have yielded, or be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.
It raises community awareness, does not obligate owners to repair or improve their property, nor does it prevent altering, selling or demolishing structures if they choose to do so. In some instances where owners rehabilitate income producing properties listed on the National Register, they can qualify for a 2o percent federal income tax credit.
Proposed nominations are reviewed by the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board, a governor-appointed panel of citizens and professionals in history, architecture, archaeology related fields. The board reviews each nomination to see whether it appears to be eligible for listing on the National Register, then makes a recommendation to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The final decision to add a property to the register is made by the National Park Service, which administers the program nationwide.
It has been projected that the decision will come before the end of this year.