Davidson Historic Preservation Plan
Historic Preservation Plan Overview
Historic preservation has long been a priority of the Town of Davidson. Originally established in 1989, the Davidson Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has operated continually for the past 31 years. The HPC oversees the town’s local historic district, first adopted in 1989. A larger National Register District designation followed in 2009. In 2020, the town expanded the existing local historic district to include the North Main Extension. Field survey work has already been completed for future expansions of the local district. Additionally, the HPC works in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission to recommend properties for landmark designation; Davidson currently has 25 designated historic landmark properties. In 2018, Davidson further reiterated a commitment to historic preservation with a Certified Local Government (CLG) designation.
Historic preservation goals were reinforced with the adoption of the Davidson Comprehensive Plan in early 2020. Specifically, “Davidson will celebrate its unique architectural and cultural history through preservation initiatives and designing new buildings, spaces, and landscapes that complement the existing historic fabric and leave an inspiring legacy.” Development of a historic preservation plan is included as an action item; this plan will be critical to a successful historic preservation plan for the town.
More recently, the Davidson Board of Commissioners adopted the 2020-2021 Strategic Plan that includes historic preservation as a guiding tenet: The Town of Davidson will preserve our historic properties that contribute to our vibrant and unique community and honor the history of the lived experiences of our residents. Specific action items include developing a historic preservation plan, continuing to expand the local historic district, revising historic district design guidelines, developing a strategy for naturally occurring affordable housing that aligns with historic preservation goals, and using available grants to help commercial property owners to rehabilitate historic properties.
Town staff views a historic preservation plan as a direct result of the community-input driven Comprehensive Plan and the 2020-2021 Strategic Plan. The town realizes that fundamental building blocks exist (local historic district, landmarks, National Register district, and commitment) but lacks the mechanism to weave these integral components together within the larger community planning process. More specifically, the town aims to educate and involve more residents in Davidson’s historic preservation efforts. This includes traditionally underrepresented communities such as the town’s historically African-American West Davidson community. Increasing designation efforts, working with trusted partners, developing updated guidelines, and solidifying a lasting commitment to historic preservation are all expected outcomes of the plan. In short, the historic preservation plan will be Davidson’s roadmap to developing an overall strategy and vision for historic preservation in town.
In January 2021, the town hired Heritage Strategies, LLC to develop a town-wide historic preservation plan. Be on the lookout for a number of virtual opportunities to provide input in the coming months.
Historic Preservation Plan Development Timeline (Tentative):
Winter/Spring 2022: Historic Preservation Plan to be finalized
October 25, 2021: Planning Board presentation on detailed plan outline
October 13, 2021: Steering Committee Meeting #3
September-December 2021: Heritage Strategies to draft historic preservation plan on a chapter by chapter basis based on public input
August 3-5, 2021: Focus group meetings held virtually on the following topics: Storytelling, Neighborhood Preservation, Downtown, Rural Preservation, and Historic Preservation Processes.
July 21, 2021: Historic Preservation Commission presentation on draft plan outline
July 1, 2021: Steering Committee Meeting #2 to review a draft plan outline
April-May 2021: Consultant to draft historic preservation vision and goals statement, identify issues, and outline objectives
April 13-14, 2021: Consultant visit to Davidson for field review
April 9, 2021: Citizen survey opens for six weeks to collect feedback related to historic preservation
March 30, 2021: Historic Preservation Plan Steering Committee Meeting #1
January-March 2021: Project initiation; Consultant research and evaluation
January 2021: Heritage Strategies, LLC selected for Historic Preservation Plan development by RFP Review Committee
December 14, 2020: Applications due from consultants for Historic Preservation Plan RFP
November 3, 2020: The Town of Davidson announces a request for proposals (RFP) for the Davidson Historic Preservation Plan