Beauregard Town could eventually become Baton Rouge’s third, locally designated historic district—a step that, if taken, would protect historic structures in the neighborhood and potentially make it easier to demolish blighted properties.
Earlier this year, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission received a grant from the state to update the historic building survey in Beauregard Town, initially developed in the early 19th century, and begin the development of design guidelines.
The measures are two of the early steps toward seeking local district status, which must ultimately be approved by the HPC, Planning Commission and Metro Council.
The Beauregard Town Civic Association initiated the process, Planning Director Frank Duke says. Though previous efforts to become a local historic district have failed—property owners are always concerned about the restrictions historic district status would place on them—the recent effort seems to enjoy at least somewhat broader support, as the neighborhood attempts to deal with blight.
“We’ve had multiple blight complaints in Beauregard Town,” says Duke, whose office is currently processing five, long-blighted properties that were referred to the HPC by the city department of development. “Because they are downtown, the development department has finally referred them to the HPC before they can go to the Metro Council for demolition. It’s a slow process and the feeling is that by becoming a local district that process may be sped up.”
While that eventually may be the case, before the neighborhood can even become a local historic district, the building survey and design guidelines must be completed, a process Duke hopes can be finished in a year.
If ultimately approved, Beauregard Town would join Spanish Town and Dreher Place as a local historic district. Beauregard Town is already designated as a national historic district, which makes developers eligible to receive certain tax credits but does little to protect historic properties or more quickly demolish blighted ones.