FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- The landmark commission is moving ahead with some projects, and plans to look into possibly scheduling some other activities to promote the city's historic districts.
At its Jan. 22 meeting, the panel finalized copy for a Geauga Lake area historical marker, which will be placed on the east side of Route 43 heading north toward the neighborhood on property owned by Mike Ball, president of the Geauga Lake Improvement Association.
The marker will be cast metal similar to the sign on the front lawn at the Church in Aurora and those in other areas of the city. Money for the marker was budgeted last year by City Council, and the money is expected to be released by the finance department soon.
A dedication of the marker is planned for May.
A new preservation handbook is being developed with a grant from the state, and a preliminary report has been submitted to state officials regarding budgeting for the project.
Landmark panelists expect to have feedback from the state by their Feb. 26 meeting, at which time writing of the chapters can begin.
The book will outline what historic preservation projects require a permit, how is a permit obtained, what is the process to obtain approvals and what are the design guidelines.
The commission hopes the book can be completed by August or September.
The city also plans to replace dilapidated wood signs in the historic districts with low stone signs. Replacement of some street signs in the districts also are possible after a review by the service department.
A Lolly the Trolley or walking tour of the historic districts has been proposed for this summer. Refreshments may be available after the tour if donations can be obtained.
A cemetery tour in conjunction with the VFW's Memorial Day ceremony is another possibility, and could include a handout sheet or mini-walking tour of the cemetery.
OTHER IDEAS for later in the year are a Christmas lights contest and a home / decoration tour focusing on the historic districts.
Seema Anwar, the panel's newest member, mentioned the possibility of selling calendars with photos of historic local homes and offering a buggy tour and Christmas home tour. She said those were popular activities where she previously lived in Texas.
Panelist Dick Fetzer said it has been several years since a home tour was organized.
Anwar also suggested the city establish a historic homeowners association which would meet every two to three months to hear speakers give talks about preserving homes.
Panelists agreed a lot of good ideas were presented, and vowed to discuss them at the next meeting.
One project that has been put on hold is the garden club's planting project in the center of town. It was stalled because of the mayoral transition from Lynn McGill to James Fisher.
Panel chairman Jeff Clark suggested it remain on hold until the new administration comes up with a plan. Panelist Lauren Broderick suggested a community adopt-a-garden project instead.
Clark suggested involving the garden club in designing some of the year-end holiday decorations for utility poles in the historic districts.
In other business, Clark reported the landmark commission will have input on this year's revision of the city's sign code. He said a special section of the code may be written for the historic districts.
The panel approved preliminary plans for a barn remodeling project/addition on the property of Ken Kessler at 411 E. Garfield Road. Kessler plans the adaptive reuse of the barn, with a small addition.
In addition to Clark being elected chairman, panelist John Kudley was elected vice chairman for 2013.