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Discussion Hears Progress, Potential of Historical Districts

Bob Lenox and Historic Preservation panelists (seated L-R) Cookie Cookston, Joanne Poret, and Doug Breckenridge
Bob Lenox and Historic Preservation panelists (seated L-R) Cookie Cookston, Joanne Poret, and Doug Breckenridge


Current restoration projects, prospective historic sites, and expansion of downtown districts were topics highlighting a discussion on historic preservation Tuesday night.



Area residents participated in the conversation that began with an update of the old Georgia Tucker School in Monroe. 


Local businessman and developer Joe Holyfield says the project is still active.  The restoration of the former school involves developing the site into a senior care facility. 


Holyfield and panelist Cookie Cookston concurred that adjustments would have to be made given the size of the existing structure.  The renovated and expanded facility is expected to house about 50 units when complete.  The Tucker building is just one of several historical projects taking place in the city of Monroe.   


More local businesses and investors are becoming attracted to maintaining the character of downtown sites. 

Panelist Doug Breckenridge says they’re finding value in making the investment.  “That something can be done. A downtown site, with the proper mechanism, and understanding a mechanism like tax credits, it can be done.”  He says the use of federal tax credits can be up to 20 percent, while state tax credits currently stand at 25 percent.


Many audience members conveyed their hopes that more private business owners or non-profit organizations would lend support to notable sites along South Grand, DeSiard, and Jackson Streets.


Audience member Chris Jackson, of Monroe, was pleased to hear the call of support.  He hopes to see the district expand south of the downtown area.  “There are a lot of historical structures.  I think we need to focus on grass roots and trying to get more structures listed,” he said.


The Policy and a Pint event, was presented by KEDM Public Radio.  A broadcast of the discussion is scheduled for next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Copyright 2021 KEDM Public Radio. To see more, visit KEDM Public Radio.

After working in Baton Rouge radio for six years, Bob returned to Monroe in 1996. He served as program director for a local commercial radio station immediately prior to joining KEDM in 2009, as News and Public Affairs Director. A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, he holds a degree in Radio/TV/Film Management.

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