City of Greensburg Logo. 
Phone: 812.663.3344
Address: 314 West Washington Street, Greensburg, IN 47240


Historic Greensburg Photo

Historic Greensburg Photo

Historic Greensburg Photo

Historic Greensburg Photo

For additional information or questions, please contact the office at 812-662-8495


Establishment of Commission

The Commission was established by Greensburg Ordinance 2006-32, Section 155.262. 

Ordinance was adopted by Greensburg City Council in February 2007.

Not a community organization, but rather a part of Greensburg City government. 


Purpose of Commission

To identify historically significant properties within Greensburg and/or help in the creation of business and/or commercial historic districts

Assist property owners within established historic districts to preserve and protect the historical integrity of their properties

To provide design guidelines as a standard to protect property values and preserve and protect the overall historical integrity of the district as a whole;

To review property owners plans for changes (not normal maintenance) to the façade of the building; new construction, and/or demolition of a building within the designated district and issue the appropriate Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for projects that meet the established guidelines for the district.  If the proposed work is inappropriate for the district, the Commission will work with the owner to find a solution that meets the needs of the owner while still making respectful changes to the building.

The Commission, at the request of the residential property owners, is also to help residents in historic neighborhoods in establishing historic districts and guidelines specific to those residential districts. 

Ongoing public education on historic preservation and the importance to the community


Initial Assigned Task

The setting up a historic district for the Greensburg Historic Downtown, as outlined in the Ordinance in Section 155.263 and 155.264. 


Rationale for Area Chosen

Because the Historic Downtown is specifically named as an area the community wants protected that this was the logical place to begin a local Historic District.

Resources citing community wishes: City Comprehensive Plan, 1985 Downtown Plan, the 1995 Designation as a National Historic District and the HyettPalma Action Agenda for Downtown (all of which contained public input)

Utilized the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory: Decatur County Interim

      Report, dated May 1999 as resource material for its work.


Addressing Concerns of Building Owners regarding inclusion in the Greensburg Historic Downtown District

The Commission did take into consideration the comments and concerns of the local property owners as the proposed boundary designation was considered; and, wherever possible, tried to accommodate and/or alleviate the concerns. 

In some cases, the location and/or historical significance of the building in question made it impossible to remove the building from the district without jeopardizing the continuity and historical integrity of the entire district and detracting from and/or endangering the protection rights of the adjoining/adjacent property owners.


Economic and Tourism Considerations

The designation provides the property owners the possibility for tax credits and possible abatements. 

The designation protects the investment of property owners by insuring that neighboring buildings are held to the same standards.

A Historic District also opens the City and County up to more grant opportunities on a state and national level. 

Historic Districts have been show to be a draw for tourists

Average tourist spending approximately $85 on a one-day visit and approximately $364 per day if they spend the night in a community (Source: Decatur County Visitors & Tourism Board, January 2011). 

Protecting the uniqueness of the downtown vital to downtown business

Historic charm of downtown an advantage over national chain “box” stores. 


Steps Taken

Commission held at least 10 public meetings per year for the last four (4) years. 

Public hearings were held on the proposed boundary designation between June 2008 and November 2010, and revisions were made to the boundary designation. 

By request of the City Council in April 2009, the Commission prepared a draft of the Design Guidelines

Public hearing for public input on proposed guidelines held on October 27, 2010. 

Recommendation on the district boundary designation was made to City Council in February 2011.

City Council approved the designation in May 2011, thereby creating the Greensburg Historic Downtown District, Greensburg’s first local Historic District.



Questions about Design Guidelines

The guidelines will only pertain to the facades of buildings that are visible from public right-of-ways

Pertain only if the property owner is making a significant change in the façade of the building, building a new building or demolishing an existing building. 

The guidelines do not cover normal maintenance of buildings, nor do the guidelines cover any building in the district that is zoned residential. 

Only buildings zoned commercial are covered under this specific district designation.

All public safety concerns are a part of the City’s Building Codes and Ordinances and those safety concerns take precedence over the guidelines for a historic district. 

All enforcement of the Building Codes and Ordinances, especially regarding safety, are outside the jurisdiction of the Commission.

Ordinance spells out what the guidelines must cover, the guidelines themselves are not part of the ordinance, allowing for any future needed changes to be processed at the Commission level and providing the Commission the flexibility needed to work with each individual property owner’s specific needs.  If the guidelines are part of the ordinance, they are no longer guidelines, but law.

Once adopted, all property owners within the district must be notified prior to any changes being made to the guidelines by the Historic Preservation Commission.





Chris Harpring

Lisa Wheeler

Theresa Schwering

Melanie Maxwell



Advisory Board 




Technical Advisors                                                                   

Indiana Landmarks
Eastern Regional Office
838 National Road, Mt Auburn
Cambridge City, IN  47327