MILTON — Mary Street and Keyser Cemetery may receive designation as local heritage sites. The city will revisit the topic during the  Feb. 12 meeting at 5:30 p.m.

At the Feb. 4 meeting, council members received nominations for the two locations.

The Local Heritage Site is a program the Historic Preservation Board recommended the council establish. According to the proposal, the program would strive to "identify and recognize distinct characteristics of cultural heritage, foster community of place, and increase community awareness and education for conservation of local cultural resources."

The basis of Mary Street’s nomination is its homes' historic architecture — mid-century bungalow-style and vernacular, a style based on local tradition and needs, according to council documents. Council is considering Keyser Cemetery for its landscape and history, with graves dating back to at least 1889.  

Councilwoman Sharon Holley said she supports nominating Keyser Cemetery but questions Mary Street. 

"Besides the property owner receiving a certificate [saying they own a local heritage site,] what is the underlying benefit for the 51 percent rule for a boundary map?" Holley asked.

City Manager Randy Jorgenson said the benefit would be the community recognition for the historical and cultural significance for that portion of the community.

"There's appropriate recognition in terms of signage that indicates just that," he said. "The people who live in homes that have historical significance in the community understand that home has value and it contributes to the community's history."

The percentage rule sets a democratic process for nominating a site, according to Jorgenson.

"If a land area has 50 property owners, you need 26 of them to ask the council to create this as a local heritage site," he said. "The majority needs to vote in favor."    

Granting Mary Street the local heritage site status would not make it a historic district, Holley said, and would not make it eligible for any grant funding.

Councilwoman Heather Hathaway said the purpose of nominating Mary Street was simply to recognize the area and not to make it a historic district.

Holley said she would support the council's decision.