Historic Strip: Listing in the National Register would be a boost

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It lacks the Early American charm of Colonial Williamsburg. It has none of the classic style of Old Philadelphia. No one mounted a charge for freedom from these streets or shouted a battle cry here  unless it was to announce the arrival of fresh produce.

But Pittsburghers love their Strip District anyway. Now it could end up on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation is getting ready to nominate one-third of the shabby, chic and jam-packed Strip to the National Register, a sure sign that the city’s longtime source of fruits, vegetables, bread and Primanti’s sandwiches is not just a visitors’ draw but also a part of Pittsburgh’s unique heritage.

The designation would give more than 60 property owners between 15th and 22nd streets, from Railroad Street to Liberty Avenue, potential access to historic tax credits for building upgrades. Although the listing would not forbid demolition or alteration of structures, it would require owner compliance with federal historic standards if tax credits were used to improve a property.

That would be a good deal for this popular neighborhood, and citizens will learn more about the nomination at a Dec. 4 meeting at the Heinz History Center.

So, finish your espresso, buy the pepperoni bread and don’t forget some cheese. Pittsburgh’s century-old market district has a chance to get even better.

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