Preservation group turns 10 years old

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Jan 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The nonprofit group focused on historic preservation and economic development in Lebanon will celebrate its 10th birthday in 2017. 

For the past decade, Historic Lebanon has created events, programs and projects to help with things like revitalizing the public square, protecting historic places and offering educational events and materials to the public. The most recent accomplishment of the group established the Cumberland University Historic Preservation District, which changed the zoning of parts of the university, Immanuel Baptist Church and land owned by 139 different people. 

Historic Lebanon also has its sights set on fixing up the public square. In 2015, the group secured help from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to upgrade the traffic route around the square to provide better flow of traffic and safety. 

The group is part of the Main Street Foundation, which provides resources for town center and Main Street improvements. 

Lebanon is also one of nine cities to receive a commercial façade improvement grant of $100,000 to be used to fix up buildings on the square. Historic Lebanon has secured the grant and is currently waiting on final approval from the state. 

Fifteen property owners signed statements of intent, and work on the projects is hopeful to start in the spring.

Eligible projects are exterior improvements including signage, painting, awnings, lighting, display windows, doors, entryways, etc. 

“The whole idea is to keep the uniqueness that is Lebanon,” said Kim Parks, a leading official of Historic Lebanon. “We don’t want to be the Disney version of something else, we want to be the best Lebanon that we are, which is the whole point of Historic Lebanon.”

The group is responsible for the historic driving tour, which debuted in April of 2015 and covers 28 places of historical significance in Lebanon and Wilson County. 

The first Farm to Table dinner, held in October, was a success with a table set for 102 to celebrate local growers and produce. The event was held outdoors on one of Wilson County’s many century farms. The group plans to have the dinner again this year. 

Historic Lebanon also puts together the Historic Places Tour every year to showcase places of historic significance in Lebanon and Wilson County. 

To learn more about the organization visit historiclebanontn.org.

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