Downtown dedication scheduled

Downtown dedication scheduled by David Lias A ribbon cutting and dedication event will officially recognize the placing of the Downtown Vermillion Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.

Starting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday April 14, the dedication will include remarks by Vermillion Mayor Roger Kozak, City Manager James Patrick, Lynda Schwan of the South Dakota Historic Preservation office, and Kevin Jacobson, chairman of the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission.

The gathering will begin in front of Candy Bouquet at 12 W. Main Street in downtown Vermillion, and culminate with a ribbon cutting stretching across the intersection of Main and Center streets in the heart of the downtown district.

Ice cream cones and lemonade will be served following the ribbon cutting.

The national listing of the Downtown Vermillion Historic District is the result of almost three years of effort by community leaders and the State Historic Preservation

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Office in Pierre.

Dan Christopherson, a downtown businessman who has been highly involved in helping the city receive this historical designation, believes it will help transform the Main Street business district.

"I hope that we can get a more nostalgic, back to the basics flavor in downtown," he said. "Most of the buildings lend themselves to that, and people like that."

In a day and age when the old is often discarded for the new, Vermillion should not forget its past, he said.

"We need to capitalize on our strengths, and for a lot of small towns that strength lies in their older buildings and historic structures," Christopherson said.

Extensive individual survey work on each of the 50 structures making up the district was completed with the help of local volunteers and University of South Dakota students.

Architectural descriptions were written for all of the properties with the help of the state historic preservation office. The history of Vermillion was then compiled and made a part of the application process.

The Downtown Vermillion Historic District includes both sides of Main Street from roughly Market to Dakota Streets, as well as some properties on Center, Court, Elm and Church Streets.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of cultural properties worthy of preservation. It recognizes a variety of historic resources that have local, statewide or national significance.

National Register listing can enrich local preservation efforts by publicly recognizing local properties and districts that are significant enough to merit national recognition.

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