With the help of a local historian, the century-old power plant on Fourth Street could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Common Council unanimously approved architectural historian Gail Klein as a contractor to complete the application process for a cost of up to $2,500.
Klein is a historian and had one of four proposals considered for the project. The other three were Tim Heggland of Mazomanie; Tim Smith and Emily Pettis from Mead Hunt of Middleton; and Elizabeth Miller of Madison.
Should the power plant be listed on the National Register, a developer could obtain 40% of project costs in tax credits, according to a memo from Redevelopment Authority vice chair Roger Springman.
The power plant is already listed as a city landmark, meaning any exterior construction of the building must be approved by the city’s Landmarks Commission.
All four of the applicants told the RDA they were able to meet the two- to three-month application deadline and have experience with the State Review Board. The State Review Board has the authority to approve the historic nomination, according to the RDA memo.
The RDA recommended Klein because she outlined the most thorough process for nomination, the memo states.
The three steps for the process are completing the necessary National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) nomination forms, providing supplemental documents to the National Park Service and Wisconsin State Historic Preservation office and a presentation before the Wisconsin Historic Review Board.
The process for applying includes a 200-300 word summary of the property, gathering digital photos and creating a presentation.
The power plant, located on the Yahara River just south of where the now-demolished public works building stood, is between two of the city’s other proposed initiatives – the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan and the whitewater park.
In April, University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering students created a report that envisioned a future transformation of the building, which is currently being used to store impounded bikes. That design redeveloped the building into a restaurant with a glass three-season atrium and wooden deck overlooking the river.