The Newberg City Council unanimously approved a resolution at its Jan. 17 meeting that could earn a local landmark a place among the most historically significant sites in America.
The process was explained to the council by Steve Olson, city planner, and is fairly simple. Newberg was designated a Certified Local Government (CLG) by the State Historic Preservation Office in 2014. That designation allows the city to apply for CLG grant funds, of which there are an estimated $12,000 available to the city this year. The city's historic preservation committee discussed the best use of the grant funds and determined that helping the Cameo Theater get listed on the National Register of Historic Places was a laudable goal.
"The amount of funds are fairly small but very targeted, so they can do a fair amount of good if they are focused on a single project," Olson told the council.
The historic designation makes it possible for sites to apply for federal tax credits for historic preservation and renovation work.
The kink in the process is that city staff estimates seeking a National Register of Historic Places designation can cost $8,000 to $10,000 because it involves hiring a historic preservation consultant who would research the property, assemble the necessary documents, prepare the nomination paperwork and follow the application through state and federal channels.
As such, staff recommended and the council agreed to apply for a $5,000 CLG grant, which will be matched by $500 in city staff time and up to $4,500 from Brian Francis, owner of the Cameo. Francis, Olson said, is agreeable to providing the match in an effort to renovate the theater.
With its decision last week, the city has met the Feb. 24 deadline for grant application.