Preservation Program Gives Frankfort Homeowners Incentive to Make Improvements

“FRANKFORT, IL – Homeowners in downtown Frankfort’s Old Town now have an incentive to improve their homes while keeping them in line with the historic parameters and feel of the neighborhood.

The village board approved a new “historic home preservation program” last month. It offers relief in fees associated with the improvements and recognition for homeowners who take part.

Jeff Cook, development services director for the village of Frankfort, said the incentives come at three levels.

For those undertaking a $1,000 remodeling project, the village will waive a $75 permit fee and $25 plan review fee. When the project is complete, the homeowner will receive a letter from the mayor thanking them for their investment.

Those undertaking a $10,000 remodeling project, a $225 permit fee and $50 plan review fee will be waived. They will also receive a certificate.

Anyone taking on a remodeling project valued at $50,000 or more will skip an $825 permit fee and $100 plan review fee and will get a plaque commemorating their work.

“These will be for the more extraordinary renovations that will make the structure more sound and to keep is marketable and up to standards for years,” Cook said.

It “recognizes those working to preserve homes in our downtown district,” he wrote on Facebook after the program was approved in mid-January.

Cook said the creation of the program began as a response to some structures in downtown Frankfort that have been demolished in recent years and replaced with ones that “don’t always fit today’s marketplace.”

“We realize people had the right to do so, but felt like we weren’t doing as much as we could to reward those who were maintaining their homes and keeping them marketable,” he said. “Here, we are acknowledging their efforts and encouraging investment.”

The preservation program isn’t modeled after any other specific community, but the result of “a collaborative process” that looked at what has worked in several places.

“We picked the one that fit for Frankfort,” Cook said.

Photo courtesy of Village of Frankfort”

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