County selects firm for preservation plan

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Denton County commissioners have notched another item on their to-do list for the upcoming historical survey project.

Austin-based Hardy-Heck-Moore Inc. was selected as the most qualified firm to help guide the development of a countywide preservation plan, which will include a survey of historical locations in the county.

“We feel very strongly this consultant can help us and lead us to where we need to be,” said Peggy Riddle, director of the Denton County Office of History and Culture.

The end result will outline historical locations in the county, including property and buildings. When new developers come to the county, officials will know where historically important areas are and can explore ways to help preserve them.

Riddle said David Moore and his team will arrive in Denton on Aug. 7 to discuss the contract terms. The next step after getting the firm officially on board is to start a review of various historical surveys that have been done in the county, officials said.

Moore and his firm just completed a similar survey project in Comal County, which is experiencing rapid growth and development like Denton County, he said. The local project will help the county as well as individuals, Moore added.

“It would help them to identify ways they can get their own designations for possible tax credits if they do rehabilitation for income-producing properties, or maybe get historical markers if they are interested in that,” Moore said. “[Comal] commissioners were real pleased and we’re hoping the same result for Denton County.”

Some of the people tapped to assist the project are Bill Coleman, the last county surveyor, and Rachel Yeager, geographic information systems manager.

Riddle said GIS staff members are currently developing a smartphone app that will allow survey team volunteers to download data collected in the field to the county database.

“The county is working with new technology. We have never embarked on this before [but] it’s really exciting, and I hope there will be volunteers in all parts of the county that will help us because it is a massive project,” Riddle said.

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