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Frequently Asked Questions

Pioneer Center gold dome structure under blue sky

The Historic Resources Commission celebrated the Pioneer Center as a historic landmark through the 2018 Historic Preservation Awards. Photo Credit: Susie Lang, #RenoLens

Q: Is there a walking tour map of historic resources, and how do I get one?

A: There's now an app for that! Visit Reno Historical. The City of Reno Community Development Department also offers a map of historic resources in downtown Reno, including a description of each structure's significance. For a Reno walking tour map, contact Associate Planner Jeff Borchardt at borchardtj@reno.gov or (775) 677-6882. The Heritage Tourism Coalition offers a map of historic sites in Reno, Sparks, Virginia City, Fallon, and Carson City. For this map, contact Nancy Holmes at (775) 852-2094.

Q: Who do I contact if I have a question about my historic property?

A: Contact Associate Planner Jeff Borchardt, AICP, at (775) 677-6882.

Q: Are there any grants, loans, tax incentives, or other ways to help finance improvements to my historic structure?

A: Buildings included on the National Register of Historic Places are eligible for a federal tax incentive for rehabilitation if the building is used for income-producing purposes. Contact the State Historic Preservation Office for information.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers grants and loans to non-profit organizations and has established an insurance program for owners of historic houses.

The Nevada Commission for Cultural Centers and Historic Preservation (CCCHP) provides grants for the rehabilitation of historic buildings that will be used as cultural centers. Grant applications are due October 1 each year.

Q: How do I go about registering my historic structure on the City of Reno Register of Historic Places?

A: Generally, if your property is 50 years old or older, it may be eligible for listing on the City Register of Historic Places. The Historic Resources Commission (HRC) may make exceptions for outstanding examples of certain architectural styles or places associated with important people in Reno's history. Contact Associate Planner Jeff Borchardt, AICP, at borchardt@reno.gov or (775) 677-6882 for additional information.

Q: How do I go about registering my historic structure on the State of Nevada or National Register of Historic Places?

A: The State Historic Preservation Office administers the State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. Contact the national register coordinator at 775-684-3436 or visit the State Historic Preservation Office website.

Q: What happens after my property is listed on the city, state, or national Register? Am I still free to make changes to it?

A: If your property is listed on the city register, you can make interior changes to your building. To maintain the integrity of the City of Reno Register of Historic Places, the HRC requires a certificate of appropriateness for exterior changes to the building, including features such as masonry walls, fences, light fixtures, steps, pavement, and advertising signs. Other changes that require the permission of the HRC include altering, moving, or partially demolishing an historic property or construction of another structure in the vicinity of the historic building. This process is simple and is designed to help you preserve the historic character of your property.

Q: What are the benefits of listing my property?

A: In additional to the public recognition of your historic building as a significant historic resource in our community, tax credits may be available to you. Properties listed on the city register may be eligible for uses other than those allowed in your current zone with a special use permit. The HRC is sensitive to the financial impacts of listing a property on the register. Often, listing on the City Register has little or no financial impact on the owner. In cases where the listing does have financial impact, the HRC will work with the owner to minimize these impacts.

Q: Where and when does the HRC meet?

A: The HRC meets at 3 p.m. the second Thursday of every other month. 

Q: Can I donate an historic sign or other historic artifact to the HRC?

A: If you wish to donate an artifact to the City of Reno, contact the City Manager's Office to be placed on a City Council meeting agenda. The HRC provides historic preservation advice and review to the City of Reno and does not have any facilities for the acceptance and storage of artifacts.

Q: How can I help in preservation efforts in Reno?

A: Since the HRC is an advisory committee, it cannot advocate opposition to the demolition of historic buildings. However, an organized citizens' preservation group could address these issues. Also, the HRC has monthly public meetings. Every spring, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office sponsors an Historic Preservation Week. Activities vary and can include walking tours and historic preservation awards. Additionally, the University of Nevada offers historic preservation courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels every semester and professional development courses through the Continuing Education Department.