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Riverdale Park and West Riverdale Historic Districts Granted!

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By Chris Davis

On December 23, 2002, the Town of Riverdale Park was granted two National Register Historic Districts-Riverdale Park (west of Taylor Road and north to Tuckerman Street on both sides of the B&O Railroad tracks) and West Riverdale (west of Route 1 to the Hyattsville border). The two districts were necessary because a historic connection could not be made between the two areas across Route 1. Homeowners in both districts are now eligible to apply for tax credits following the rules listed on the state's Department of Housing and Community Development web site, www.dhcd.state.md.us. Given Maryland's current budget situation, these credits may be reduced or eliminated, so be sure to check for the latest information before you begin work. Remember that all restoration work submitted for credit must follow the state's guidelines, which includes extensive photography and documentation throughout the entire project. Of course, homeowners can still renovate a house within the two districts without following the guidelines; the rules apply only to those seeking the tax credits.

Aside from the individual tax credit benefits that historic district status provides, the historic districts will benefit the community as a whole. Historic district status can increase the marketability of homes within the designated areas. Furthermore, the presence of the historic districts would make future expansion of East-West Highway difficult. Signs indicating district boundaries will be installed as soon as the town's budget permits.

The Town of Riverdale Park will sponsor a celebration for the end of this decade-long quest, likely to take place near Founder's Day, April 20, again as the town's budget allows. Watch the Town Crier for updates. Also, the town will continue to seek historic status for each neighborhood not currently listed as those neighborhoods reach the half-century mark.

Chris Davis is Ward 4 councilmember and president of the Preservation Association of Riverdale Park, 301-277-6615, chris-davis@earthlink.net.

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