vinton street stakeholder group begins work
June 13, 2012
They studied windows and canopies and doors. They looked at wall materials and paint colors and awnings. They examined a host of details that reflect the architectural styles of the buildings that line the neighborhood, and then they voted.
Property owners, residents and neighborhood advocates met June 4 to begin discussing what actions they want to take to preserve the character of the Vinton Street corridor. The area is the site of a pilot project aimed at encouraging the preservation and economic vitality of Omaha’s historic neighborhoods.
The Vinton Street Project – a partnership of Omaha by Design, the City of Omaha, the Greater Omaha chamber and local stakeholders – is combining the use of traditional historic preservation tools with one of the city’s recently enhanced urban design tools, the Neighborhood Conservation and Enhancement (NCE) Overlay District, to identify those physical characteristics of the area the neighborhood feels are of special importance and create “form-based” regulations to preserve and protect those features.
Omaha by Design has hired Jensen Consulting to work with the city’s planning department to create the historic NCE Overlay District. Omaha by Design is serving as the project manager, and the planning department is responsible for the formal approval and administration of the district.
“It’s great to see the Vinton business owners coming together to work on this with a concentrated effort to help beautify and make our business district a real community space,” said Larry Ferguson, owner/operator of the Larry Ferguson Studio at 1701 Vinton St.
Ferguson said the group has made improvements to the existing streetscape by adding benches, planters and other amenities, and protecting the district’s buildings is the next logical step. “Now we need a more consistent approach to building renovation, signage and new construction to continue to attract new businesses to the area as well as new customers,” he added.
To date, a detailed physical survey of the Vinton Street area has been conducted, including public spaces, building forms and massing, and architectural styles and ornamentation.
The stakeholder group that gathered June 4 will meet again over the summer to determine its preference level for what to include in the historic NCE Overlay District and discuss how it wants to address new construction in the area. A third meeting will task the group with looking at the surrounding neighborhood and determining what overlay protection options it wants to consider.
In conjunction with the project, a Historic NCE Overlay District Guidebook will be created that outlines the process for other neighborhoods to follow in the future, said Connie Spellman, director of Omaha by Design.
The Vinton Street Project is the outgrowth of work conducted by Omaha by Design’s Conservation, Preservation and Restoration Committee, which was formed to begin looking at what role the organization could play in augmenting existing preservation efforts in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro. For more information, contact Omaha by Design at 402.554.4010 or email@example.com.