Proposed Courthouse Square historic district clears important hurdle

Newport is one of the region's most historic communities.  Founded in 1795, the city currently boasts six national historic districts with 1,000 to 2,000 historic properties in each.

These numbers may soon change as the new Courthouse Square National Register Historic District moves forward.  Two weeks ago the Newport Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to recommend the proposal for the new historic district.

The approval is an important step as the historic district moves towards reality.  Next it will have to gain the approval of the Newport Board of Commissioners, then the Kentucky Review Committee, and finally the National Park Service where its qualifications will be examined.

The movement to create the historic district comes at a time when Newport is experiencing a surge in investment in historic properties according to Emily Jarzen with the City of Newport.

"There have been lots of commercial rehabs along Monmouth Street in recent years," said Jarzen.  "Hopefully as time moves forward more areas see reinvestment similar to areas like Monmouth and the East Row neighborhood."

In 2008, the East Row Historic Foundation started the Newport Historic Plaque Program which is available to the entire city.  The program allows residents to get introduced to the history of their home so that they can learn its story.

"Once people know a little more about their house it becomes more real to them," said Jarzen who says that the Newport program currently only has a handful of people participating, while a similar program in Covington has a 90 percent participation rate.

"Basically all of Newport is historic, and we would love to see more people get involved with the program across the city," said Jarzen.

For more information about the Newport Historic Plaque Program, please contact Emily Jarzen at (859) 292-3637 or by email at [email protected].  Act soon: the cost of plaques is currently $97, but will be going up to $106 in January due to inflation.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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