Historic Preservation Overlay process approved - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Historic Preservation Overlay process approved

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)
(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Four city parks with structures dating back more than 80 years could soon be protected from getting torn down without approval. 

The City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to start the process of putting structures in Harmon Park, Union Park, 35th Division Park and the Mattie Beal Park under the Historic Preservation Overlay.

The vote marks the first step to help preserve some pieces that were built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, such as the bridge at Mattie Beal Park, which dates back to 1936. Harmon Park also has a similar bridge, as well as an archway.

Union Park has an archway too, and scattered through all of these parks are structures that have similar characteristics to the WPA projects. It's unclear whether those projects were built by the WPA, though, and city officials will research to determine if they will get the same protection.

Planning Director Richard Rogalski said adding these structures to the historic division just recognizes their importance.

"It's our history, it's who we are and so it's not just a building that of if it's old, we're going to tear it down and build a fancy new one. It has some characteristics to it that really something that should be saved," he said.

He said having the pieces protected also protects local heritage, adding that it helps residents invest in Lawton's history for the future.

"We're not preserving it for us I mean, we could do nothing and it will last our lifetime," Rogalski said. "We preserve it for our children and our children's children."

He believes preserving the structures will give future generations a place where they can see the impact of the WPA.

Rogalski said the WPA had a great impact during the Great Depression, hiring around 120,000 Oklahomans.

"The WPA is something that should not be forgotten," he said. "The work that was done here should not be forgotten and that's what's more important than really the structure itself. The structure is just a monument to what those men did at that time."

Before the structures are under the historic preservation they'll have to go through different councils before finally going to the city council for approval.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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