A portion of Elmwood Avenue was unanimously approved Thursday by the state Board for Historic Preservation to be put on the state Register of Historic Places, setting the stage for near-certain approval on the National Register by the National Park Service in the next several months.

Homeowners and commercial property owners in the area - bordered by Summer Street to the south, Richmond Avenue to the west, Elmwood Avenue to the east and Forest Avenue to the north - will be eligible for a 20 percent state tax credit on repairs. To do so they will have to adhere to standards set by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Supporters said the designation was a proven way to improve the appearance of a neighborhood by preserving and bolstering its historic character, put people to work and boost property values.