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story.lead_photo.caption A final draft of a citywide historic preservation plan has been submitted and will go to the El Dorado City Council at their next meeting for approval.

The final draft of a citywide historic preservation plan has been completed and now, it is in the hands of the El Dorado City Council for final approval.

The El Dorado Historic District Commission has asked city officials how they would like to proceed in formally adopting the plan, which provides guidance and direction on how the city can identify and prioritize historic preservation issues and projects.

The project was initiated by the EHDC and covered by a $42,000 grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and a $10,000 match from the El Dorado Works tax, which is earmarked for economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality-of-life projects.

The match was not required in the terms of the grant agreement but it demonstrated the city’s support of the effort, historic district commissioners said.

The plan includes recommendations that focus on local neighborhoods, buildings and projects that could assist with revitalization and economic development in El Dorado.

Action items call for the city to:

• Establish incentives for housing repair and rehabilitation.

• Create a community housing development organization.

• Create a historic homeowners handbook.

• Create a quality neighborhoods marketing initiative.

Preparation for the comprehensive plan has been ongoing for more than a year, during which the Lakota design team visited the city, worked with several local groups and gathered input from El Dorado residents.

The team outlined steps in the preparation process, setting a date of July 15 to submit the final draft.

Lakota submitted the final draft a day early and the document was immediately distributed to El Dorado City Council members for review.

A final presentation to the council is also one of the last steps in the process.

Elizabeth Eggleston, executive director of the EHDC, City Clerk Heather McVay and the Lakota team discussed the matter during a virtual meeting Tuesday.

Immediately following the meeting, McVay sent an email to city officials, asking if they would like to adopt the plan with a motion or by resolution.

She also asked if the council like to move ahead with a presentation of the plan from Lakota or if the written draft would suffice as the final presentation.

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ongoing, Lakota has said it could present the final draft via a virtual meeting with city officials.

“(Douglas Kaarre) from Lakota said different cities do it in different ways. They just want the support from the city council,” McVay said, adding that she had not heard from any city officials about the matter late Tuesday afternoon.

She also asked council members if they would like to place the item on the agenda for the next regular meeting, which is set for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 6 in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

Council members recently agreed to return to their regular meeting schedule of the first Thursday after the first Monday of the month and then two weeks later.

Since March, the council has held regular meetings once a month, having revised its schedule due to COVID-19.

In the meantime, the EHDC is moving ahead with some of the recommendations in the final draft of the plan.

On July 16, the AHPP notified commissioners and city officials that the grant agreement has been amended to include another Certified Local Government grant in the amount of $49,049.

The largest portion of the grant, $42,500, is to be used to start surveying the Mellor Park residential area and Forest Lawn/ Eastridge subdivision for eligibility for a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

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