MARINETTE - While the City of Marinette doesn't have the historical presence of Mackinac Island or the Oregon Trail, it still has a history that can lead to clues about where the community came from for those who wish to look into it.

However, it becomes harder and harder to visualize the past when people or companies buy historical properties and build modern structures there. For this reason, the Marinette Historic Preservation Commission will be garnering interest in turning the Riverside Avenue area into a historical district.

While there are little-to-no tax incentives for being a historical district, it does impose certain restrictions on what owners can do to the properties within the boundaries. The concept of a historical district is mainly to preserve the structural integrity of buildings built within a certain time frame.

Without these restrictions, current or future property owners could tear down historically significant buildings, such as the Lauerman House Inn, and replace it with a parking lot or other structures that does nothing to preserve the city's historical references.

"I think that this would be a really good place to start," said Dr. Dan Kallgren, chairman of the historic preservation commission, at their meeting Friday afternoon.

The commission is also looking at a couple other areas to turn into historical districts, but for now they are focusing on the Riverside Avenue area to gauge how much interest they can garner within the city and how much dissent they will have to deal with.

"I think that will give people some pride. If you really look at our communities, I think that there is a real lack of pride, for some reason," said Mark Davenport, commission member. "And I think that if we can get this going, they can get some of that pride back."

The commission will survey residents of the potential historical district and will invite them to an informational meeting. This meeting will take place Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. in the common council chambers at Marinette City Hall.

Kallgren said he believes the commission will have an easier time getting the Marinette city council to approve the historical district if they have the support of city residents behind them.

"(Residents) might actually drive this proposal," added Davenport. "We're just the conductor of the orchestra. We just have to get some information out there."