The Texas Historical Commission’s State Board of Review has approved nine blocks of downtown Killeen for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a nomination that should secure the area for the federal designation.
“This will mean that downtown Killeen will be a historic destination spot, a place where lots of people will come to visit and learn about Killeen’s history,” said Charlotte Humpherys, downtown Killeen revitalization project manager.
In order to be eligible for the program, Killeen’s historic district, between Fourth Street to Eighth Street from Avenue B to Avenue D, had to meet three criterion from the State Historic Preservation Office.
At least 50 percent of the buildings had to be built before 1962, must not have been greatly altered and must have historic significance.
Fifty-nine percent of Killeen’s historic district falls within the guidelines.
“We are one of the first areas approved for the registration that is dominated by midcentury buildings,” Humpherys said. “Because Killeen really took off in the 1950s, that’s what dominates this area.”
The Killeen historic district was nominated based on its historical significance to architecture, the community and the military.
With the designation, the city will be considered more favorably for facade grants and tax incentives to help fund projects such as the downtown streetscaping project, currently under way.
City officials hope the historic designation will draw more investment to the downtown area and bring new businesses into the city.
“With this designation comes not only that you have something worth protecting, but it adds shelter in the market for those who want to invest in those buildings,” said John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
“It provides assurance that someone can invest money in downtown and that something undesirable will not pop up next door to them,”
“If people have confidence that the standards will be met, they will feel their investment is secure,” Crutchfield said.
“We’re still a long way from getting downtown completely turned around, but we’re going in the right direction.”
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which falls under the responsibility of the National Parks Service, protects America’s historic and archaeological resources; however, many cities participate because of the incentives.
Almost every county in the United States has at least one place listed on the National Register, according to the National Parks Service’s website.