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South Wheeling considered as possible historic district

A group is pushing for a portion of South Wheeling to be listed as a historic district, like many other parts of the city. Residents met Tuesday night to learn more.

A group is pushing for a portion of South Wheeling to be listed as a historic district, like many other parts of the city. Residents met Tuesday night to learn more.

South Wheeling became part of the City of Wheeling in 1870, and since then has held historical significance in many ways. Now, the push is on to recognize a portion of South Wheeling as a historical district.

"One of my goals is for South Wheeling to be recognized for what it truly is,” said South Wheeling Preservation Alliance President Ginger Kabala.

Kabala loves South Wheeling. Originally from Wellsburg, she has been part of the South Wheeling community for 40 years.

Her hope is for South Wheeling to be listed as a historical district.

What does this mean? Those who live in the area came out Tuesday night to learn more, and hear from Wheeling Heritage and the State Historic Preservation Office.

"The national register is more of a designation of honor than anything else, but it does open you up to some advantages, like tax credits, development grants and grants through the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, that can help offset some of the costs of rehabilitating and restoring historic structures,” said Wheeling Heritage Project Manager Rebekah Karelis.

The title would only go to a portion of South Wheeling, comprised of 133 properties, though the number could increase.

Carving a historic district out of the area is difficult due to the number of abandoned houses and buildings.

Some residents who attended were originally concerned that adding official historical recognition to their homes would come with a cost. Karelis said that's not the case.

"There is a misconception that it will allow the government to control your property, keep you from painting it a certain color or installing new windows, but that's not the case,” she said.

It's not a simple process: A nomination will need to be drafted, and then approved before the area is listed.

For Kabala, it would mean the world.

"We'd take it as a point of pride, that we would be recognized, like with the sign that they have in other parts of the city, to be recognized for our heritage and the contribution we made to Wheeling,” Kabala said.

If all goes well, it could take until the beginning of next year to find out if South Wheeling is officially listed.

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