Efforts to have a section of Madison Street in Forest Park placed on the National Register of Historic Places are under way but still in the “very preliminary” stages, according to the village’s economic development consultant.

Bridget Lane of Business Districts Inc. of Evanston mentioned the possibility in her latest update to the village council Jan. 23.

If approved, the Madison Street District would join the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument in Forest Home Cemetery, 863 Des Plaines Ave., on the National Register, Forest Park’s only other designated landmark.

Forest Park officials are expected to request a preliminary assessment in March. Applicants who are informed their place is a likely candidate for the National Register are required to submit a completed nomination form along with additional supporting materials. Lane said village officials would make a decision whether to go to the next level. 

If they do, Madison Street’s nomination would be reviewed by the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council, which determines which nominations are forwarded to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., has the final authority to designate a place. If the nomination is approved, the place is designated in the National Register of Historic Places.

Lane said that if Madison Street qualifies as a district, National Register designation would be a “feather in our cap” for the village and reinforce Madison Street’s ongoing economic success by attracting new customers, residents and businesses, engaging new partners and recognizing a distinctive local experience.

According to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency website, another benefit is potentially stopping the damage or destruction of registered places by requiring state or federally permitted/funded/licensed projects to examine alternatives.

The website also states that being listed in the National Register does not require private property owners to preserve or restore their registered place.

Lane said additional incentives for property owners from the State of Illinois and from the federal government are possible but stressed nothing is definite. Illinois currently has a successful pilot program for a state tax credit available in specific areas within five Illinois communities. Considering a National Register district would also enable Madison Street commercial property owners to capitalize on any future Illinois state tax credit.