By Brad Stager
As Hillsborough County’s population continues to grow, more of what has existed is giving way to new homes and shopping centers. Ensuring that current and future generations of residents are able to connect with the area’s past is a job that the county’s Historic Resources Review Board (HRRB) performs.
The HRRB is composed of nine unpaid members selected by the Board of County Commissioners who dedicate their professional skills and interest in preserving history by reviewing applications from residents seeking historical designation for landmarks or financial assistance to preserve them.
The board includes architects, historians, real estate and planning professionals as well as positions designated for members whose primary credential is a knowledgeable interest in historic preservation. Members serve three-year terms and there are no term limits, but some positions, such as architect, require professional licensing in Florida.
When an application comes before the HRRB for consideration, the review process includes determining the role that a site has played in Hillsborough County’s history. That’s where the board’s historian plays a significant role.
Charles Nelson is currently the board’s historian and he said there are a few factors that come into consideration when reviewing an application.
“The property has to be at least 50 years old and have either architectural significance or historical significance, or both,” said Nelson, who also writes articles about Hillsborough County’s history that are published in the Osprey Observer.
One example of local preserved history is the A. P. Dickman House in Ruskin. It was built in 1911 as a home for members of the Dickman family who settled in the area to form a college and cooperative community, creating the foundation for modern Ruskin. The waterfront 2-story wood structure is a blend of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival architectural styles.
In 2000, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve as a home for descendants of the original owners. The current occupants sought and received funding from the HRRB to help pay for needed repairs to ensure the structure remained in good shape.
You can learn more about how the HRRB helps preserve Hillsborough County’s history as well as opportunities to serve on it and other boards and councils staffed by residents by visiting hcflgov.net.