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Winona aims to update historic districts

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Banner hangs in downtown Winona. Banner hangs in downtown Winona.
Winona, MN (WXOW) -

Travel around the Coulee Region and you'll find a lot of historical buildings and landmarks. Winona boasts many of them, but not all of them are recognized by the Minnesota State Registry. A new project is underway to correct that and allow those buildings access to tax credits.

When she went to open her business over seven years ago, Gabby Peterson only wanted to open in downtown Winona.

"We put off opening our shop a little bit in order to find the right space downtown," Gabby said. "We felt like the energy of Winona was here."

Peterson and her business partner later purchased the over 100 year old building, making it their own.

"People don't build buildings like this anymore," She explained. "We have 15 ft ceilings."

Walking around the downtown area, you'll find a lot of historical buildings.

"East second street historical district is one of the best preserved in the state," Luke Sims said. "That is a good collection of buildings as well as moving over to third street."

Luke Sims says despite having the historical buildings, not all are recognized by the state. A study currently underway plans to bring the building documentation to current standards and get them on the national historic district boundaries.

"Getting on the national register and being a contributing property is how you can access those historic tax credits," Sims said.

Members of the Winona county historical society believe cutting the cost of investing in older buildings will help keep these buildings alive.

"Some of the projects that are happening or just recently happened are taking advantage of those tax credits, wouldn't of happened otherwise," Executive Director Mark Peterson said.

Driving a sense of pride among the community and driving in tourism.

"It's proven time and time again, history does sell," Peterson said.

For the city, keeping these buildings in great condition contributes to the future success of the city.

"These are really the bones on which our overall city structure is built," Sims said.

Sims says the cost of the study is around $19,000 and should be finished around May. 

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