The East Main Historic District comprises two blocks on Main and Idaho streets near their intersections with 1st and 2nd streets (see map below). In August, council members enacted an emergency ordinance that placed a moratorium on demolition, alteration, or moving of any structures in the area after the owner of a historic 1897-vintage home expressed a desire to demolish and redevelop the property.
Since then more than 700 Boise residents have expressed their support for the district’s creation, through letters, emails and three public hearings by the city’s Design Review Committee and the Planning and Zoning Commission as part of the district’s approval process.
“It’s clear that Boise residents overwhelmingly support the creation of long-term protections for this neighborhood,” Mayor Bieter said. “It’s very satisfying to know these historic homes and their connection to Boise’s past will be preserved for generations of Boiseans to appreciate and learn about.”
The district’s creation also has the support of Preservation Idaho.
“You cannot build historic buildings,” said Paula Benson, president of Preservation Idaho’s board of directors. “They are a function of the passing of decades and generations and, once destroyed, they take with them the history and the diversity that they bring to their communities. We believe approval of the East Main Historic District ultimately safeguards the diversity of styles and eras that mark Boise’s downtown as one of the most vibrant and livable cities in the country.”
Although the area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, only local historic district designation could protect the area properties from demolition. With the East Main Historic District approved, these properties will remain as enduring elements of Boise’s history.
“With this new historic district, we’ve not only coupled this corner of downtown to its history,” said Boise City Council President Lauren McLean, “we’ve also ensured that the character and vibrancy of Boise’s past endures.”
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