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Preservation groups concerned legislators might be ignoring rehabilitation tax credits

SALISBURY — Local and state historic preservationists have gone into a high-action, high-alert mode after learning that Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan for continuing rehabilitation tax credits is not part of a final state Senate bill.
The rehabilitation program must be included in the House bill to survive, preservation groups say, and they feel as though they are in the 11th hour, since a House budget bill should be finalized in the current short session by the end of the week.
“This is very concerning,” said Brian M. Davis, executive director of Historic Salisbury Foundation.
Davis said HSF sent out a call to action Tuesday through an “e-blast” to 2,500 people, and the organization also reached out to 1,300 people through its Facebook page. It asks them to contact their state legislators. In Rowan County specifically, the HSF is urging people to call members of the state House, either Rep. Carl Ford (919-733-5881) or Rep. Harry Warren (919-733-5784).
“The loss of rehabilitation tax credits, which create skilled jobs and revitalize communities, will have a disastrous effect on local economies and communities,” Davis told friends of the foundation.
Back in April, standing in front of the old Pickett Cotton Mill in High Point, McCrory laid out a program aimed at helping the rehabilitation of buildings, especially historic structures.
The initiatives aimed at filling in gaps that will be created when state historic preservation tax credits, in place since 1998, go out of existence effective Jan. 1, 2015.
The governor’s budget calls for historic rehabilitation tax credits on pages 107-112, according to preservationists.
Developers, preservation groups and downtown supporters have said the economic and quality-of-life effects without the tax credits could be devastating, especially to historic-minded cities such as Salisbury.
Preservation North Carolina is making a similar plea to its supporters, asking them to contact their House members by telephone.
According to figures from the State Historic Preservation Office, Rowan County has had at least 48 income-producing and non-income producing (residential) projects which have used N.C. historic preservation tax credits since 1998.
Those projects alone represented a total investment of almost $21 million.
Since 1976, North Carolina has had 1,358 income-producing projects that have taken advantage of federal and/or state historic preservation tax credits. They represent more than $1.7 billion in investment.
Rowan County is among the top five counties in North Carolina using historic preservation tax credits on income-producing projects over that time period, with 71 projects accounting for $27.4 million in investment.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.


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