Perkasie Borough’s roughly eight-block section known as Olde Towne is one step closer to applying for recognition and a listing on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government listing of districts, properties, sites and objects, which embody historical significance or note.
Perkasie Borough Councilman Scott Bomboy said a request for proposal [RFP] had been released, to hire a historic architectural consultant at a cost of up to $25,000. He said the money was part of the approved 2019 budget.
Perkasie has been working toward the registry designation since 2017.
It provides significant tax benefits to property owners and is shown to
increase property values.
Homes placed on the register can be eligible for federal tax credits of up to 20 percent; along with 25 percent tax credits from the state. The terms and duration of the tax credits vary.
“The consultant will look at all 250 buildings, list them, find out who owned them, how old they are and determine eligibility for the register,” Bomboy explained.
If the process goes according to plan an application could be submitted early next year.
Before his appointment to borough council in 2017 to fill out an unfinished term, Bomboy created a historic property inventory in Perkasie as part of a lifelong learning class he was completing at Bucks County Community College.
“I did the Perkasie Park and survey, which can also be used and saves us some money,” Bomboy said.
He said council’s job was to define the area, as a town center overlay was already on the books, and then create an adaptive use overlay.
The Perkasie Historic Preservation Committee is working with the Perkasie Planning Commission to define and establish the overlay.
In 2018, council created the Perkasie Historic Preservation Committee to further consider and “figure out what we wanted to do,” Bomboy said.
The rebuilt portion of the downtown after the fire of 1986 would not be eligible for the registry, Bomboy said.
He noted only those buildings constructed before 1966 with some kind of significant architectural details, elements or integrity could be eligible.
The section tagged for consideration is bounded by Walnut to Arch streets, between Fifth and Seventh, which had been serviced by the train and the trolley.
Bomboy said Perkasie did not want to control how property owners used or enjoyed their homes or businesses, such as dictating replacement materials, or paint colors.
He added some modern replacements can disqualify an otherwise appropriate building from the registry.
“Windows and doors, those are the biggest problems,” Bomboy said of the process to register a property.
According to his research properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places increase in market value by as much as 50 percent. They become become desirable because of the designation.
“And your taxes don’t go up,” Bomboy said.