WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 25, 2012, 09:29 PM

Homes in Erskine neighborhood keeping history alive

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Homes in the Erskine neighborhood near downtown Fargo will be keeping history alive.

Homes in the Erskine neighborhood near downtown Fargo will be keeping history alive. City commissioners voted unanimously tonight to add the new boundary to the Historic Overlay District. It includes homes between 10th and 13th avenue from 5th street south just passed 10th street south.

Homes won't be able to be physically changed without the approval from the city. If a building permit is required, the Historic Preservation Commission will have to approve any construction work that affects the exterior of a structure.

Polly Wendelbl and her two friends have waited a long time to hear those words. They have been working to get their neighborhood in the Historic Overlay District for four long years.

Polly Wendelbl – Historic Homeowner: “Very happy, it's been a long process.”

Being bumped of the agenda because of flooding issues in the area, Wendelbl is glad her dream has finally come true.

Polly Wendelbl – Historic Homeowner: “We want to have homes that people can come enjoy and see what it used to be like, and we are protecting that.”

Wendelbl has lived in her 1914 home since 1977. She has enjoyed living in a piece of Fargo's history, and says studies have shown that neighborhoods protected by Historic Overlays benefit in more ways than just cosmetically.

Polly Wendelbl – Historic Homeowner: “Property values at least stay the same, but generally increase in value.”

Fargo has two other districts with Historic Overlay's. One homeowner on the border of the Erskine's addition hopes to not be added to it.

Dan Lindquist – Disagrees with Historic Overlay: “There's people there that are trying to do projects, that I think in a perfect world they would do exactly what was there originally, but I don't think our city government should make it any more difficult for a homeowner to try and improve their property.”

Dan Lindquist agrees that people should seek guidance when considering a remodel, but shouldn't need another hill to climb before doing so.

Dan Lindquist – Disagrees with Historic Overlay: “Don't make anything mandatory, let people still decide what they are going to do with their property.”

David Shultz, the Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission is also happy the City of Fargo is moving forward to preserve its history, and hopes in time people who disagree with it, will come to appreciate it.

David Shultz: “These standards are in fact meant to be helpful, and to create positive guidelines, and are not taking away their rights to do things with their properties.”

This new ordnance does not affect anyone looking to make changes to the interior or landscaping of their home. The historic preservation commission is looking to expand into other neighborhoods.