Past could be a future draw for Sandpoint

SANDPOINT — In the future, it may be the past that brings tourists to downtown Sandpoint.

While almost 30 years since it was first proposed, city officials finally accepted the National Park Service’s designation of downtown Sandpoint as a historic district. Council members hope the new status will appeal to history buffs and attract a new breed of tourist into a Sandpoint vacation. The designation will also allow Idaho Transportation Department to furnish a sign indicating the region as a historic district.

“(A historic district sign) was something recommended by SERA Architects as something that would draw travelers into downtown,” Public Works Director Kody Van Dyk said.

According to the National Park Service, the historic district encompasses a general area centered around First and Second avenues and Main and Cedar streets. However, those parameters are fairly flexible.

“It’s not a tight designation,” Van Dyk said.

The National Park Service published the region’s status as a historic district all the way back in 1984. However, neither the city council at the time nor any subsequent city councils took any action acknowledging the new status. That came back to bite the city when Van Dyk asked Idaho Transportation Department officials about the possibility of a sign. They replied that they couldn’t do anything until the city officially accepted the historic designation.

According to National Park Service historic district website, there’s really no downside to the designation. Property owners still retain all current their rights to modify, expand or demolish any real estate improvements as they see fit. Aside from the pride of having an officially recognized piece of history in town, building owners within the district can also potentially apply for tax credits by rehabilitating properties listed in the registry. However, if that doesn’t fit into the specific plans owners might have for their property, it isn’t obligated.

The mere presence of a historic presence in town can be a draw for some people, leading to business opportunities for downtown merchants. In October, several academics, preservation professionals and history enthusiasts attending National Historic Trust for Preservation conference in Spokane visited Sandpoint to get a taste of its past. They visited Community Hall, the Sandpoint Depot and the Panida Theater during their morning tour, taking a break in the afternoon to shop and grab some lunch.

Read More News

Sandpoint Title hosting chamber social

June 28, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Area residents and businesses professionals are invited to join the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce at this month’s Business After Hours networking event Wednesday. The chamber...

Read More

A-T Ranch receives Idaho century award

June 28, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — One hundred years ago, World War I was raging in Europe. Norman Rockwell drew his first Saturday Evening Post cover, and President Woodrow Wilson officially established Flag...

Read More

Boyer road work set to begin today

June 28, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Ongoing road work on Schweitzer Cutoff will occasion traffic detours this week, according to Scott Rusho, construction manager with Interstate Concrete, the contractor working on the...

Read More

Ford launches write-in bid for sheriff’s post

June 28, 2016 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Saying he cannot walk away from the responsibility he feels to ensure the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office is more responsive to the county’s citizens, Terry Ford has announced a...

Read More