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COMMUNITY BENEFITS FROM HISTORIC RESOURCES, REDEVELOPMENT AND HERITAGE TOURISM

State College, Pennsylvania — December 13, 2011

Helping the community to learn about Federal Tax Incentives for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

 

As a leader in Historic Preservation, Weber Murphy Fox (WMF), in conjunction with the Borough of Bellefonte Pennsylvania, Preservation Pennsylvania & the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Planning and Community Development Office of Centre County, sponsored the public presentation “Introduction to Leveraging Historic Resources, Redevelopment and Heritage Tourism in Your Community”.

 

Held at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, PA on December 7th, 2011 the event introduced attendees to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program (which can generate cash for building rehabilitation), the preservation and rehabilitation technical assistance available to property owners, and the economic and heritage tourism benefits of preserving historic community assets.

 

The presentation was attended by over 30 local officials, property owners, business leaders, and professionals who answered YES to all three of the following questions: Do you own a commercial building located in a historic district, a house that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a historic barn, or building eligible for such designation?  Does it need to be fixed up?  Will it be used for rental housing or some other business?

 

Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives

Administered by the National Park Service, the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program offers a 20% federal tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses. The primary benefit of historic tax credits and conservation easements to rehabilitation projects lies in their ability to generate equity.  Heather Rudge, Historic Preservation Studio Leader at Weber Murphy Fox, presented several examples of how this can bring significant dollars to a project and counteract the effects of higher costs or depressed markets. Thousands of property owners across the country have already utilized these tax incentives to rehabilitate historic commercial buildings and similar properties.

 

Sustainable Economies

Historic structures play an important part of preservation, conservation and reuse strategies used by local communities to develop sustainable economies. Historic, natural and cultural resources are also considered key components in the state’s second leading industry – tourism (PA DCNR). Robert Lingenfelter, RLA, LEED AP BD+C, Land Planning & Development Associate at Weber Murphy Fox, highlighted the economic benefits of Open Space Assets, such as Parks and Greenways, and Historic and Cultural Resources like Heritage Area and Recreation Assets.  According to the 2010 “Community Preservation Values Survey” by the PA Historical and Museum Commission and Bureau for Historic Preservation, when asked what resources enhanced the character of their community, the top five responses included “parks and open spaces” and “historic buildings, sites and districts”. Robert also summarized the history of the Match Factory Complex, the Talleyrand Park expansion, and Arts and Crafts Fair in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, citing the community’s ability to leverage these Historic, Natural, and Cultural resources to attract Waterfront Redevelopment.

 

Technical Assistance

An introduction of technical assistance programs and services available from state, county and local agencies included Erin Hammerstedt, Field Rep for Preservation Pennsylvania & the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Susan B. Hannegan, Assistant Director for Planning and Community Development, Centre County, and Robert Keal – RA, HARB Consultant for Borough of Bellefonte.

 

Click  here  for a copy of the presentation. Continue the conversation on Facebook here. For more information about Historic Preservation and Open Space assets please visit:  www.wmf-inc.com  or contact Robert Lingenfelter: rlingenfelter@wmf-inc.com or 814-867-3508 X 205.