Rockport Leverages Preservation for Economic Development

Once restoration is complete, Rockport officials hope an 1870 commercial building on Main Street will serve as an anchor for downtown revitalization.

Rockport, Indiana
Rockport will use a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to restore restore a c.1870 commercial building at 407 Main Street (far right, above).

Hoping for a Ripple Effect

Like many small towns, Rockport has struggled to find a solution for its deteriorating buildings. In 2015, Indiana Landmarks helped the city pass an ordinance to create a historic preservation commission tasked with identifying and preserving the city’s historic structures. The commission makes recommendations to the Rockport Common Council on designating local landmarks and districts, and administers the review process that upholds the preservation standards.

City officials recently leveraged preservation as a powerful tool for economic development when it won a $500,000 grant from the Public Facilities Program, administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The grant will restore a c.1870 commercial building at 407 Main Street. “The town is excited about the possibilities the project presents, and for the building to be the anchor of our downtown historic district,” says Donna Ayer, president of the Rockport Historic Preservation Commission.

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