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Local downtowns share in $2.4 million in state tax incentives

For a complete list of downtown tax incentive recipients, visit bit.ly/1pMNdO7.

—Several Windham County towns shared in an allocation of $2.4 million in downtown tax incentives that Gov. Peter Shumlin announced in downtown Burlington on Monday.Shumlin said that the tax incentives, for 37 projects in 26 communities statewide, administered through the state Downtown Development Board and Downtown Development Program, support nearly $78 million in downtown, village, and village center construction and rehabilitation projects.The State’s Downtown Development Board targets state resources and training to build strong communities and promote the efficient use of land, infrastructure, and resources.Almost 150 community centers are designated downtowns and villages. Upon designation, the communities receive priority for consideration for state grants, increased Act 250 review triggers, and access to state tax incentives.“These incentives are proven to jumpstart transformation in communities and have brought jobs, business and housing to downtowns and villages across the state,” Shumlin said.“And when we put people to work revitalizing our communities, we not only support local economic development, we’re building a better and stronger Vermont for the next generation,” he addedThe Brooks House in Brattleboro received $571,682 in credits. The historic building, ravaged by fire in 2011, has been renovated and upgraded in a $24 million project that’s nearly completed.The Manley Building in Brattleboro received $25,000 in credits. The former auto dealership houses 24 apartments and three retail spaces. The tax credits are part of a $281,985 project to upgrade the building’s electrical system.In Bellows Falls, $43,500 in tax credits are earmarked for a old warehouse on 6 Island St. that is being rehabilitated through a $225,000 project into a commercial space and an artist studio.The Putney Community Center in Christian Square received $12,390 in tax credits as part of a $109,400 project to repair the building’s exterior and address code issues with the well-used building, which provides space for numerous community organizations.Five properties in downtown Wilmington, which was badly damaged by flash flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, also received tax credits.The former Wilmington Home Center and neighboring Professional Building at 1-3 East Main St., now vacant, is undergoing a $1,928,400 renovation. The project received $125,000 in tax credits.Plans for the building include retail space on the first floor, 19 hotel rooms, a coffee bar, and a connector addition that will include an elevator.A couple of doors down at 9 East Main St., a dilapidated apartment house is getting $7,331 in tax credits. The building is in the process of receiving nearly $25,000 in repairs.The former Poncho’s Wreck restaurant at 10 South Main St., which has been vacant since 2009, is being slated for a $407,250 renovation project to make the building available for commercial retail use. The project is receiving $74,455 in tax credits.The Vemont House at 15 West Main St. has been vacant for three years. The historic inn and tavern, built in 1864, is getting $950,00 in repairs and renovations in the hope of getting its 13 guest rooms back in business. This project received $78,235 in tax credits.And the historic Laterre House at 24 East Main St., now owned by the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, is in the process of a $1,093,060 renovation into affordable housing for the downtown center and received $76,796 in tax credits.During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers approved adding $500,000 to the program. Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Noelle MacKay said Monday that the extra funding helped the Downtown Development Board support a record number of projects.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #267 (Wednesday, August 13, 2014). This story appeared on page A7.

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