Town applying for historic registry; will host great race | SierraSun.com

Town applying for historic registry; will host great race

David Bunker, Sierra Sun

Courtesy photoThe Great Race, 2003, included a stop in Concord, N.C. Truckee and the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce have agreed to host a stop as classic cars make their way east to west this summer

Truckee may soon gain national recognition on two fronts – its historic downtown, and its spot as a host city of America’s oldest vintage car race.

The town will host the Great Race on July 1, and by that date, 120 vintage automobiles will likely be rolling through a downtown that recently joined the National Register of Historic Places.

“A National Register District is the highest honor that can be put on a historic downtown in the nation,” said Town Planner Duane Hall, whose department will be sending off the application and expects a decision in either May or August.

The designation, along with an application to become a certified local government and implementation of the Mills Act, would signal success for the two-phase Downtown Historic Preservation Program.

The town staff is confident that the Office of Historic Preservation will soon certify the local government of the town (after a resolution authorizing the town to seek certification was approved by the council at the meeting), making Truckee eligible for state and federal historic preservation grants. The Mills Act implementation, which would allow downtown property owners to qualify for tax breaks and historic easements, will be before the council in March.

The boundaries of the National Register District would include Brickelltown, the Commercial District, River Street area, Church Street area, Bruckaulter (the area behind Church Street), McGlashan (behind Commercial Row and Brickelltown), and the Railroad and Hilltop areas.

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South River street was excluded from the register because it has few truly historic buildings and many non-historic structures.

Now that objectives of the Downtown Historic Preservation Program are being completed, the town is beginning a number of workshops to inform property owners of the grants and technical assistance that they can receive when rehabilitating buildings in the downtown area, and guidelines and requirements that they must abide by during new construction.

The Historic Downtown will be the site of festivities surrounding the Great Race on July 1, and local agencies are already gearing up for the festivities.

“Our board was very enthusiastic about the race,” said Lynn Saunders, president and CEO of the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber is 100 percent behind this event.”

The chamber is splitting the $5,000 race fee with the town. The Great Race requires the payment from host cities.

The race event will mobilize local groups to showcase Truckee by encouraging attendance and organizing a day of festivities, in an attempt to win the Great American City award and the accompanying $10,000 prize for the local library.

After each overnight stop, racers rate the hospitality and spirit of each town. The town with the highest rating at the end of the race wins the prize money for its town library.

The chamber is looking to coordinate local groups that will welcome the more than $4 million in cars 45 years and older that will make the stop in Truckee for the night.

“Of course we will be wanting to work with the lodging properties, restaurants and other businesses downtown,” Saunders said. “We want to make it the easiest for people to come down and have a good time.”

Mayor Josh Susman said, “the chamber is going to spearhead the effort to coordinate the events. All of the service clubs will probably get a packet to see what their involvement might be.”

As far as winning the Great American City Award for hospitality and town spirit, Saunders thinks Truckee is a lock.

“Truckee does not lack in community pride or spirit,” she said.