It's no secret downtown Dodge City has been declining.

    But that doesn't mean nothing can be done. Which is why Christy Davis was in town Thursday and Friday to talk to downtown business owners and patrons about the advantages of a "historic district" designation.

    Davis, with Davis Preservation out of Topeka, is under contract with Dodge City to help formulate an application that would protect downtown Dodge.


    It's no secret downtown Dodge City has been declining.
    But that doesn't mean nothing can be done. Which is why Christy Davis was in town Thursday and Friday to talk to downtown business owners and patrons about the advantages of a "historic district" designation.
    Davis, with Davis Preservation out of Topeka, is under contract with Dodge City to help formulate an application that would protect downtown Dodge.
    "I've worked with Greensburg and Fort Scott," she said. "You talk to people and you don't realize what you have until you lose it."
    Greensburg's downtown was completely leveled by a tornado and Fort Scott's was severely damaged by a fire several months ago. If downtown Dodge  City achieved national historic designation, it would give owners access to rehabilitation funds in case of similar emergencies.
    Not only that, she said, buildings that fall within the district which are considered "contributing buildings," would be eligible for federal and state tax breaks as well as grants.
    Davis has spent the past several months with the help of a grant surveying Dodge City and mapping out what would be considered its official district.
    It was eventually mapped out as rough shape bordered on the north by Vine Street, the south by Wyatt Earp Boulevard, on the west by Fifth Avenue and on the east by Avenue A.
    Rather than simply creating a piece-meal list of individual buildings that would be on the national registry, the entire district would be nationally recognized.
    That's not to say all the buildings qualify for tax breaks and protection. Non-contributing buildings wouldn't fall under the historic protection.
    Troy Robinson, who owns the Flowers by Irene building at 500 N. Second Ave., said he showed up Friday morning to get an idea what the pros and cons of the designation would be.
    As far as Robinson could see, they were all pros.
    "Dodge City's got a lot of history to it," he said. "It just seems to go hand in hand with keeping our downtown area vital."
    Dennis Veatch, development services director for the city, said that if Dodge City received historic district designation it would offer more chances for Dodge to play up its history.
    Davis said they were expecting to have a draft completed in November. It will go before the state before final approval on the national level.

Reach Mark Vierthaler at (620) 408-9908 or e-mail him at mark.vierthaler@dodgeglobe.com.