The Town Square Initiative is creating a new online resource to assist communities in surveying and inventorying historic commercial property and increasing the visibility of these assets. TSI is excited to announce the Downtown Online Inventory which is still under development and will be fully launched to the public in spring 2017 as www.downtowntx.org.
The Downtown Online Inventory (DOI) is a comprehensive, web-based mapping tool that captures and stores essential historical and architectural building information along with current real estate and property data. The centralized data is displayed in an easy-to-use, highly visual, and broadly accessible online platform.
TSI received support from a private foundation in the fall of 2015 and directed Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) monies through the Certified Local Government grant program to funding the first phase of the DOI. Three Certified Local Government communities and one additional non-CLG community were selected as pilot cities to work closely with TSI staff on developing the software between January 1 and September 30, 2016. The CLG cities include Palestine, San Antonio, and San Angelo. Staff is working with another round of Main Street and CLG cities between November 2016 and May 2017 to refine the features and continue to expand the amount of property information available.
The DOI performs two important functions: first, to provide the needed tool for downtown and historic preservation professionals to accomplish accurate and useful building inventories; and second, to offer a web-based platform to increase the visibility of vacant and underutilized historic buildings. The Inventory provides a way to highlight the potential of a single building by placing it the context of the historic commercial district with its collective strengths — strategic location, authenticity, historic integrity and social capital. Eventually, Downtown, TX will showcase hundreds of downtowns in Texas.
When combined with the technical services offered by TSI staff, this provides a new approach to the difficult job of attracting investors who are committed to maintaining historic integrity and enhancing the quality of a place.
Read the Project Description included in the 2015 Special Grant Call to Certified Local Governments.