Athens City Council met in committee Monday to discuss a possible local designation of the Uptown Area as a historic district.

Currently, Uptown Athens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it is not locally designated as a historic district. A local historic district designation would require Uptown business owners to gain approval from Athens’ Historic Preservation Commission before changing the exterior of their building.

John Valentour, a member of Athens’ Historic Preservation Commission, spoke to council about locally designating Uptown Athens as a historic district, in addition to its existing national designation.

“The Uptown historic district was put on the national register in 1982 … it seems long overdue that we should probably create this local district,” Valentour said.

Paul Logue, Athens City Planner, said that this designation could help Athens’ economy become more competitive.

“One of the best things we have is our Uptown district, and so looking at it from that perspective, it actually does make us more competitive. It makes the city more attractive to parents who are looking at locations for their kids to go to college and for people who want to come Uptown to visit,” Logue said.

In addition to the uptown area, council discussed designating Seaman’s Cardinal Supermarket as a historic landmark.

Council also discussed potential reopening of Arts West amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Athens Mayor Steve Patterson suggested increasing the streaming capabilities of Arts West so that it can host virtual events in order to generate revenue without promoting the spread of COVID-19. 

“We’re not anywhere near being out of the woods with the pandemic. As a matter of fact our numbers … are going up again,” Patterson said.