Springfield is taking another step toward creating a historic district — and giving it a digital touch.
City council members agreed Tuesday to spend up to $7,000 for completion of a project begun by Savannah College of Art and Design professor Jong Hyun Lim and his historic preservation students. For two quarters, SCAD students under Lim’s guidance took photographs and conducted interviews in an effort to create and map a potential historic district for Springfield.
The class isn’t being offered this summer, so the city has to enact a contract with Lim and the students who wish to continue working on the effort.
"We would like to continue the project," said City Manager Brett Bennett. "This is not an arrangement through SCAD, but the professor and a group of students would like to see the project through."
Also this summer, the volunteerswill create a documentary video, about 30-40 minutes long, depicting Springfield’s history and its contemporary life, Lim said.
SCAD students collected data on 107 properties, and images are being assembled to make 3D models on Google Earth of historic structures. The historic county jail is already on Google Earth.
The contract will add 60 more homes to the database.
"We have a huge amount of data we collected over the last two quarters," Lim said.
That information also will be used to create a digital historic district and eventually the online database will be incorporated into a proposed new Web site for the city.
"Springfield would be the first small town to have its historic district online," Lim said. "This would be exciting for us and exciting for everyone in the community."
In the online 3D models, a dialog box describing the building will pop up, and there will be accompanying photos and maps, Lim said.
"The city is trying to design more programs to encourage downtown vitality and to promote tourism here," he said.
Also, the material and information collected by the students will be used to designate a historic district. SCAD student volunteers also will complete the historical research form and that will be submitted to the National Register of Historic Places.
"We’ve been pushing for a historic district for years," said Council member Kenny Usher. "We would have to do this legwork and it would not be as professionally done as the professor and his group could do."
SCAD students also presented their Springfield research at the High-Tech Heritage International Conference at the University of Massachusetts earlier this month.
The project will continue through July 15, followed by creation of a historic district ordinance and design guidelines for a historic district.
"That would be the last step," Bennett said.