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Council recommends adding The Magnolia House to historical district


The Magnolia House.

The Greensboro City Council discussed updating the Downtown Historic District map to now include The Magnolia House, located on Gorrell Street. Council passed a resolution that will allow the updated maps to be sent to the National Register Advisory Committee for further evaluation.

District 3 Council member Zack Matheny was a no vote, citing that he did not believe that the city had done its due diligence.

“If it’s that time sensitive, council should have at least two meetings on this. Should have been brought to us in January. Did the city staff ask the question enough in which to approach the geographic region so that it could potentially be on the register, because of how The Magnolia House came to be. Did we do enough,” said Matheny.

According to Mike Cowhig, senior planner of Greensboro’s city planning department, The Magnolia House is already listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an individual property.

Properties that get listed in National Historic Districts are eligible for restoration tax credits, which then can be used to helped rehabilitate older structures. There is also a process for listing properties individually.

The city planning department is also looking at the south Benbow Road area as a potential National Register Historic District. The National Register Advisory committee is meeting on Thursday to consider submitting the update for downtown Greensboro onto the national park service for listing.

Updates to the Downtown Historic District map began in 2018 with a survey of the downtown district and surrounding areas to see if there were more businesses available to be added to the national register. The city planning department is currently working on annexing more streets into the Downtown Historic District.

Council also approved a resolution to request $32 million in state funding to remediate Bingham Park in East Greensboro. The park has been closed to residents since at least 2010, when the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality found evidence of hazardous waste, due to the park’s proximity to a waste treatment plant for years.

District 1 Council member Sharon Hightower said, “This is a park the city has owned for years and years. And it is in the heart of a Black community. It is closed but it is contaminated. It is not usable until it is remediated.”

Remediation endeavors include removing contaminated dirt and replacing it with clean soil, backfill to street level, rebuild stream banks, replant trees, renovate basketball courts and playgrounds, and more.