Caught up in the current effort to reform the federal tax code is a critical program that has completed nearly $25 million worth of rehabilitated historic buildings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore since 2002. The Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is a 20% credit on the cost of rehabilitating a historic building and is a powerful and efficient tool for revitalizing our nation’s small towns and cities. For every $1 invested by the federal government, the program attracts nearly $4 in private investment. Better yet, for every $1 in credits, the program returns $1.20 to the federal treasury – actually yielding a profit for the government. The results have been stunning and have changed the outlook for many communities. On Maryland’s Eastern Shore the program has a long history of revitalizing communities while also saving important historic buildings. Since 2002, in Easton alone the program has incentivized the rehabilitation of $10 million worth of buildings – from main street shops to former industrial buildings. A perfect example is the McCord Laundry facility, home to the Eastern Shore Conservation Center – a mixed-use campus of nonprofit organizations, businesses, and apartments. In Cambridge, the program is supporting the rebirth of Race Street, providing critical equity to make the rehabilitation of the Hearn Hardware Building a reality. The formerly vacant and crumbling building will now host market rate apartments and first floor retail space; yet another positive outcome thanks to the Historic Tax Credit. Elsewhere in Cambridge, the Historic Tax Credit is incentivizing an ambitious and potentially catalytic project that will convert the vacant Phillips Packing Co.’s Factory F into a hub of commerce, industry, and education. Without the Historic Tax Credit and the New Market Tax Credit program, which is also seriously threatened, tackling difficult projects like this in rural communities would not be possible. Repeal of
Great news for The Packing House project! The Maryland Department of Planning recently announced that 50 matching grants totaling nearly $2.7M were awarded to non-profits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations including museums, historic preservation, natural resources, cultural, and educational organizations by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA). Among them was $90,000 awarded for The Packing House - more specifically, the stabilization of the factory smokestacks which are in desperate need of repair. The Packing House grant fell within MHAA's "Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area" (or Dorchester County), which as a whole was awarded $235,000. ESLC also has a crowdfunding site at Razoo.com where an additional $25,000 is trying to be raised to help with a hefty smokestack repair bill. These grant funds support heritage tourism projects and activities that draw visitors and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout Maryland. Tourism is the 10th largest private sector employer in Maryland, providing more than 143,000 jobs and $17 billion of visitor spending annually. Maryland’s Heritage Areas contribute to Maryland tourism by saving and enhancing the places that attract heritage tourists - people who focus their travels on historic sites, museums, cultural activities, or the natural beauty of Maryland’s Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay coastal areas and Mountain Maryland. For more information about The Packing House, please visit thepackinghousecambridge.com.
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