The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

February 1, 2013

Preservation credit extension proposed

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — It seems like something that should go hand-in-glove with the progress of preserving the best of the village’s downtown district.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2013-14 budget proposal, delivered last month, contains a five-year extension of a historic preservation tax credit for investment in historic buildings.

The proposal calls for as much as $5 million in tax relief per project through the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit program, a five-year tax credit that is set to expire at the end of 2014.

Medina’s downtown buildings are in most cases at least a century old, firmly nestled in recognized historic districts and deserving of a restorative boost.

Projects like the Orleans Renaissance Group’s restoration of Bent’s Hall have sought funding from the state for much-needed repairs. But Meier says local projects haven’t been able to benefit from the program.

“All of our downtown is eligible, but no one has taken advantage,” Meier said.

That’s in part because the credit is not separable from a federal credit. Meier, ORG’s treasurer, said not having a separate allocation limits the pool of potential investors.

“It certainly makes capital available for projects in small towns, but it’s a big stumbling block,” said Meier, who added that a more open program would assist the renovation of the 1865 theater. “The credit equity that the project could generate would be beneficial.”

Groups like the Preservation League, which bestowed the “Seven to Save” moniker on Bent’s Hall last year, have voiced support for Cuomo’s proposal, which does enhance provisions of the original program.

“Proposed changes ... and statutory language that provides the option to take the state rehabilitation credit as a refund, a change intended to increase the number of investors who are able to fund projects,” Preservation League President Jay DiLorenzo said. “We are pleased to see the Governor recognize this program so prominently.”

Meier said the ORG, which largely funds its restoration effort through annual memberships and proceeds from concerts, is continuing to seek state funding.

A $500,000 request for EPF funding was rejected in December, but smaller grants have been steadily awarded. Meier said the ORG intends to seek the elusive funds in this year’s round of consolidated funding.

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