U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is praising federal legislative action this week for protecting the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, which is part of 18 counties including Randolph County.
Manchin, a ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, secured the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the national designation of the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area and an increase in the funding cap for the Wheeling National Heritage Area as part of the Natural Resources Management Act.
“I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to finally permanently reauthorize LWCF so our land management agencies can operate fully and without the fear of losing access to the funding they rely on. The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area is a treasure in Randolph County and this national designation is long overdue,” Manchin added.
“By reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill supports West Virginia’s heritage and outdoor recreation economy and keeps faith with the important idea that America’s outdoors and public lands are part of who we are as a nation,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers.
LWCF is a conservation tool that ensures states and federal public land management agencies are able to protect and conserve our natural resources without relying on taxpayer dollars. In West Virginia, LWCF funded the acquisitions of the Gauley River National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River and Dolly Sods. Since 1965, more than $243 million in LWCF funds have been spent in West Virginia on more than 500 projects, both on state and federal lands.
This includes improvements to local parks and public spaces in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
To read the full article, visit the Intermountain's website at www.theintermountain.com/news/local-news/2019/02/forest-heritage-area-receives-designation/?fbclid=IwAR1sTMTTTLEegcPCRiZrjqIitSA2InvF1267CLT4wF1MFTAPznAV8dW4BKA
Join PAWV in supporting the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) in its effort to be designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area. Your expression of support NOW for Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area will help bring this long-sought goal to life.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators you support Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area designation. Showing them strong grassroots support will inspire action!
See HERE for a contact list and HERE for sample letters and talking points.
For over 15 years, AFHA has worked for conservation and community development in our 18-county region. AFHA conserves, develops, interprets and promotes a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences, benefiting communities and the environment throughout the highlands of West Virginia and western Maryland. Now is the time to expand these efforts during our spring 2018 support letter campaign.
AFHA began seeking National Heritage Area (NHA) designation with the approval of our Feasibility Study by the National Park Service in 2006. For the study, more than 150 different private, government and non-profit agencies as well as individuals wrote in support (see list of letters HERE) of this designation.
Today, we need to show that support again.
Currently, two bills, Senate Bill 401 and House Resolution 3142, have been introduced in Congress to designate the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area. This designation will bring national recognition of the importance of the Appalachian Forest Heritage story, as well as technical assistance through the National Park Service and funding for local projects.
WHAT IS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
For over 30 years, National Heritage Areas have been telling America’s story. They are designed as a cost-effective way of conserving our nation’s natural and historic resources. This approach has been validated in 49 areas around the country, including two in West Virginia (Wheeling National Heritage Area and the National Coal Heritage Area), that have developed dynamic partnerships among local governments, non-profit groups and businesses.
The National Heritage Area program in a nutshell:
Let’s look at figures from one of West Virginia’s NHAs. The National Coal Heritage Area (NCHA) generates $207 million annually in economic impact, supports 2,744 jobs and generates $16.8 million in tax revenue. This economic impact consists of: tourism ($205.3 million), operations ($1.1 million), grant making activities ($419,000), and capital expenditures ($238,000).* The NCHA has been a driver of economic development in that southern West Virginia region and transformed communities through preservation and celebration of their rich coal history.
The opportunities for our region are similarly limitless; for we are unique. No other NHA has identified forest heritage as its primary theme. NHA status would provide support and funding for the region to develop interpretation and cultural programs; conserve our unique assets, recognize the role of past, present and future of the forest industry; strengthen our forest heritage identity; and share this amazing legacy with visitors.
For the history of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area effort, including Feasibility Study, see HERE
PAWV sent this letter to Parkersburg's Design & Facade Review Committee the day before its meeting on February 14, 2018. The subject of the meeting was to vote on whether to approve the proposed demolition of the historic Citizens Bank Building located at 401 Market Street. During the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to approve the demolition of the structure. The committee is comprised of Mayor appointees.
Dear Parkersburg Central Downtown Business District Design & Façade Review Committee,
On behalf of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV), the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, I am requesting the committee to table the proposal to demolish 401 Market Street and allow for public comment and additional discussion regarding WesBanco’s redevelopment project. Part of PAWV’s mission is to advocate for sensitive development and design that incorporates historic buildings such as the Citizens National Bank Building and to preserve existing structures that are the keys to downtown redevelopment.
When expanding this study beyond a 1 block radius, the ratio of building footprint compared to pedestrian and vehicle space dwindles even more (see aeriel view above). This is a common trait of unsustainable and unhealthy cities. It is our opinion that parking lot will not improve the economic climate of the City, however, WesBanco can become a leader in enhancing the historic downtown through their effort. Additionally, there are financial incentives for redevelopment and national trends that can be replicated in Parkersburg in which the building located at 401 Market St. can be preserved while meeting the parking and thoroughfare needs of WesBanco. I have included some of these ideas at the bottom of this letter.
As the statewide nonprofit supporting historic preservation, we can provide many ideas in favor of preserving this historic building in an attempt to convince the committee to vote to table this proposal and even vote “no” to the proposal, but ultimately, I urge you to listen to your citizens. Over 500 people have signed a petition asking you to vote “no” to this proposal. It is important to your residents that you preserve what is left of the downtown. It is a treasure, and it is a place that matters. That is why PAWV chose Parkersburg as its host town for the upcoming West Virginia Historic Preservation conference bringing dollars and energy into your community; you have a lot to offer and potential for redevelopment.
You have active residents that care about historic preservation, and this is an excellent opportunity to show forward thinking for future generations.
Thank you for your service and consideration,
FINANCIAL INCENTIVE – HISTORIC TAX CREDIT
The Citizens National Bank Building has been vacant for over a decade, and its redevelopment has been financially unfeasible in the past. However, as of January 1, 2018, West Virginians can take advantage of a combined state and federal historic tax credit of 45% on income-producing properties. Prior to this increase, the combined state and federal historic tax credit was 30%, but a 45% tax credit on qualifying construction activities (interior and exterior) is a major incentive for banks and property owners to rehabilitate historic properties like the Citizens National Bank building.
Tearing down the Citizens National Bank Building for a parking lot and alley is a short-term answer to a vacant building problem that can be incentivized now for redevelopment. Please run the pro-forma again for redeveloping this property using the historic tax credit figures, and this property could be marketed for rehabilitation in a prime location in downtown Parkersburg. PAWV would be happy to lend its services in reconfiguring a pro-forma to demonstrate whether redevelopment of this building is possible now that the historic tax credit is 40%. And if WesBanco also needs additional space for offices, 401 Market St. offers prime street front and first-floor space that can be redeveloped using the historic rehabilitation tax credit. The bank has acquired and redeveloped a historic property at 33 N. Third St. in Columbus, Ohio. The WesBanco Regional President Lisa Robinson was quoted as saying acquisition is a “huge new step for WesBanco”, and we encourage the committee and WesBanco to work together to consider something similar for Parkersburg.
PARKING GARAGE INSTEAD OF PARKING LOT?
According to Parking Consultant, Gerard Giosa, “Surface parking gobbles up so much land that it begins to negatively affect the character and walkability of a downtown business district. An 800-car parking garage can be constructed on a piece of land that is just 120 feet wide by 270 feet long, and it can be tucked into the center of a downtown block and surrounded by existing and new buildings so that it is hardly visible from the street. By contrast, if we wanted to provide those same 800 spaces in a surface parking lot, the parking lot would have to be the size of four and a half football fields! And it’s almost impossible to assemble that volume of contiguous land in an existing downtown setting.”
There is a service parking lot already connected to the WesBanco property, and a parking garage across the street from the WesBanco property. Has WesBanco considered building a parking garage and thoroughfare on its existing surface lot if the bank has identified that additional parking is needed? This parking garage may even serve as an additional incentive for redevelopment of 401 Market St. Although the up-front costs of the parking garage are more expensive, estimated in 2013 by Giosa at $21,000 per parking space versus $3,000 per parking space in a surface lot, the parking garage can attract additional development by meeting parking needs for the redevelopment of 401 Market St., as well as providing additional parking for the Blennerhasset Hotel. Over time, the parking garage can pay for itself through monthly and day parking for employers in the downtown area.
 Gerard Giosa article can be accessed at http://buildabetterburb.org/financing-parking-garages-qa-with-parking-consultant-gerard-giosa/
We're pleased to share that the 20 percent federal historic tax credit (HTC) was retained in the final tax reform bill. Keeping the federal historic tax credit as a permanent part of the tax code is a significant victory for the historic preservation community—especially considering that the first House version eliminated the credit.
We owe this success to the thousands of advocates who rose to the occasion and made your voices heard, as well as to the leadership of key members of Congress. We are particularly grateful to Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) for exhibiting strong leadership during this process.
On Friday, December 15, House and Senate conference committee members reached agreement on the details of major tax legislation that will now proceed to a final vote in both chambers this week. The agreed-upon version keeps the historic tax credit at 20 percent but requires that the credit be taken over five years instead of all at once. The legislation repeals the 10 percent rehabilitation tax credit for non-historic buildings, but it does retain the New Markets Tax Credit.
Inclusion of the historic tax credit in the most significant tax legislation to move through Congress in more than three decades is an exceptional reaffirmation that rehabilitation of historic buildings is sound federal policy and good for the nation. While several steps remain before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) becomes law, please take a moment to reflect on what a significant accomplishment retention of the historic tax credit is for the preservation movement and for the betterment of our communities. With the recent increase in the state historic tax credit to 25%, West Virginians will have access to 45% in combined state and federal tax credits when undertaking construction on a historic income-producing property. The 25% increase takes effect on January 1, 2018.
Thank you to the many preservationists, practitioners, and stakeholders who worked countless hours to ensure this critical preservation tool remains a pillar of federal historic preservation policy. Thank you to Congressmen McKinley and Jenkins for standing up to retain the historic tax credit and signing a Tax Credit letter focused on the Historic Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit.
You can thank Congressman McKinley through his website at https://mckinley.house.gov/email-me/. He has been instrumental in leading the effort to save the historic tax credit.
You can thank Congressman Jenkins through his website at evanjenkins.house.gov/contact/email.
Urgent Action Needed: Advocate for a 20% HTC in Final House/Senate Reconciled Bill
Early on Saturday morning, the United States Senate passed its tax reform bill on a vote of 51-49, moving the legislation to a House and Senate Conference Committee to reconcile the two versions of tax reform. The Senate bill restores the 20% Historic Tax Credit (HTC) with a provision that it will be claimed over five years.
Your immediate ACTION is needed!
All advocates should be fully activated across the country, connecting with both House and Senate offices.
Call-to-Action: Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff. Scroll down for contact information and suggested messages:
1. Introduce Yourself as a Constituent
McKinley, David - (R - WV, 1)
Suggested thank you: "I would like to thank the Congressman for his leadership during the tax reform bill and for his efforts to preserve the 20% Federal historic tax credit. We hope the Congressman will continue to fight for this important financial development tool during House and Senate conference committees related to the tax reform bill."
Mooney, Alex - (R - WV, 2)
Jenkins, Evan - (R - WV, 3)
Suggested Message to Congressmen Mooney & Jenkins: I am calling to request your help to ensure the existing federal historic tax credit (HTC) is retained through the tax reform process. The House tax reform bill repeals the HTC, but the Senate Finance Committee is proposing to keep the historic tax credit in place with certain reductions to the incentive. We need the HTC retained at its current level of effectiveness so that this proven tool can continue to restore under-utilized buildings, create local jobs and revitalize older commercial districts.
2. Explain why you value Historic Tax Credits, and that the redevelopment of historic buildings will not get done without the HTC.
3. Let them know some previous and future HTC projects in your state/district
4. Touch on why these historic buildings are so challenging but important to our communities.
5. If your Member of Congress has agreed to help, please remember to thank them and tell others about their support!
Manchin, Joseph - (R - WV)
Capito, Shelley Moore - (R - WV)
Suggested thank you - “I would like to thank the Senator for supporting a tax reform bill that includes a 20% Historic Tax Credit in Senate tax reform bill. This is a significant improvement compared to the elimination in the House bill. Please communicate to Senate Republican Leaders and Chairman Hatch (R-UT) that they must not weaken important protections for the Historic Tax Credit when they reconcile the House and Senate bills.”
It is extremely important to keep all Capitol Hill communication constructive and respectful.
In November, Senate Finance Committee legislation eliminated the pre-1936 10% non-historic “old-building” credit and reduced the 20% HTC to 10%. HTC advocates were successful in working with Senator Cassidy (R-LA), and other Finance Committee Senators, to support a provision to restore the HTC to 20% for historic buildings. As a cost saving measure, the “Cassidy Amendment” provided that the 20% credit will be released over the 5-year compliance/recapture period (or 4% per year). The Finance Committee approved the provision, which was included in a Manager’s Amendment, on a party line vote.
The House passed a tax reform bill on November 16th. The House version of the bill eliminates both the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old building” credit and the 20% HTC. With House Republicans highly motivated for a legislative win, few Republicans voted against the bill.
House members will still have an opportunity to voice their continuing support of the HTC when the House and Senate negotiate the final tax package. Many House members and supporters of the HTC have encouraged House Leadership to accept the improvements in the Senate bill and advocates are encouraged THIS WEEK to continue sending this message to their Members of Congress.
While advocates are disappointed they could not fully restore the 20% HTC to current law and prevent the elimination of the 10% pre-1936 rehabilitation credit, they are standing their ground, insisting on the Senate provision and that no further erosion takes place.
Urgent Action Requested!
The federal historic tax credit reduced in Senate Tax Reform Bill Release, House Committee Passes Tax Bill with HTC Eliminated
Today the Senate Finance Committee released their version of a tax reform bill that reduces the Historic Tax Credit in half, from 20% to 10% for historic buildings. Additionally, the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old” building credit is eliminated.
Also today, the House Ways and Means Committee passed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) or H.R. 1, with the HTC entirely eliminated, on a party line vote 24-16, setting up full-House floor consideration next week.
Your immediate ACTION is needed!
How Can You Take Action?
Contact House and Senate Members - Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff.
A suggested outline of your email message or phone call:
All advocates should be fully activated across the country, connecting with both House and Senate offices, asking them to retain the HTC in tax reform bills, undiminished. The fate of the HTC will be determined over the next few weeks, please advocate and ask others to advocate!
The House of Representatives is expected to consider and vote on the bill on the House floor next week. Also next week, the Senate will begin to mark-up and pass their version of the tax reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee.
-Please contact your House Representative by COB Monday and ask them to work with House leadership to insert the HTC back into the final House bill.
-Contact your Senators by COB Monday and ask them to go to the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leadership, express support to retain the HTC in the Senate tax reform bill undiminished.
Despite our collective frustrations, it is extremely important to keep all Capitol Hill communication constructive and respectful.
Advocates Should Focus on Preserving the HTC not influencing the Transition Rules
While the House repeal transition rules have been described as both stingy and unclear, advocates should direct 100% of their advocacy to preserving the credit in its current form in the House and Senate. Should the need arise, there will be opportunities later in the legislative process to negotiate favorable transition rules. Now is not that time. Such actions could extinguish momentum advocates are gaining to retain the HTC in tax reform. There is a good chance the Senate bill passed out of committee will incorporate the historic tax credit and there is still opportunity for the HTC to be added back in the House bill.
U.S. Representatives Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., have been outspoken in their support for the credits, she said.
"We are grateful that McKinley and Jenkins requested the inclusion of this economic-development tool in the tax reform bill," LaPresta said.
"Both legislators represent districts in which historic tax credits are attracting private investment."
Historic tax credits helped finance 92 commercial-rehabilitation projects in West Virginia between 2002 and 2016, leveraging more than $175 million in development investment and supporting more than 3,500 construction jobs, she said.
"These credits are highly influential when it comes to attracting larger businesses into West Virginia downtowns," LaPresta said.
The tax credit was championed by President Ronald Reagan to encourage the rehabilitation of abandoned and underutilized properties. Since 1981, it has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment and created more than 2.4 million, she said.
The state Legislature in October increased the State Historic Tax Credit from 10 to 25 percent, but weakening or eliminating the Federal Historic Tax Credit could endanger the feasibility of nearly all historic rehabilitation projects in West Virginia.
"We think the credit complements, rather than hinders, Congress's goal of pro-growth tax reform," LaPresta said.
“There are a dozen buildings that we predicted would be rehabilitated with the increase of the state historic tax credit. Now, with the proposed elimination of the federal credit, we fear progress will be jeopardized."
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is a non-profit dedicated to historic preservation and a statewide partner in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
LaPresta is urging business leaders who wish to advocate for the federal historic tax credit to contact the alliance at 304-345-6005 or visit its website at PAWV.org.
Preservation Alliance of West Virginia
The West Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate, during this week’s special session of the Legislature, passed House Bill 203 to increase the State Historic Tax Credit from 10 percent to 25 percent.
Gov. Jim Justice placed the bill on the Special Session agenda after consultation with legislative leadership and interested parties.
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, Abandoned Properties Coalition, US Green Building Council, W.Va. Chapter, W.Va. Community Development Hub, Wheeling Heritage, private developers, citizens, and municipalities joined together to create the Revitalize West Virginia Downtown Coalition.
That coalition developed a plan to increase the state historic tax credit to aid in economic development of the state and educate legislators on the importance of the historic rehabilitation tax credit.
Danielle LaPresta, executive director of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, said, “I am pleased that the Governor and legislature saw the potential of the historic tax credit to serve as a catalyst to revitalize West Virginia. This program will spark economic development throughout the state regardless of the size of the community.”
The governor is a strong ally of historic preservation in West Virginia, LaPresta said.
The 25 percent credit brings West Virginia to parity with neighboring states. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia have a 25 percent state historic tax credit; Maryland and Kentucky have a 20 percent tax credit. This increase will encourage the rehabilitation of historic buildings and spur private investment, create jobs, and help rid the state of vacant and underutilized buildings. Studies have shown that the estimated return on the state’s investment is approximately 2:1. This means for every dollar of tax credit provided by the state, two dollars of additional state taxes and revenue will be created through investments.
Renee Kuhlman, director of Policy Outreach, Government Relations and Policy from the National Trust for Historic Preservation said, “With these improvements, state legislators are putting West Virginia’s heritage to work and encouraging investors to bring their dollars to the Mountaineer State. States that have improved their historic tax credits have doubled the use of the federal historic tax credit and have seen construction jobs increase because renovation is labor intensive.”
The Legislature passed the legislation with overwhelming support in both houses.
Mike Gioulis, PAWV Advocacy chairperson, speaking for the coalition, said: “The coalition would like to thank all of the legislators that voted in favor of the bill, including the sponsors, Speaker Tim Armstead, R, Kanawha, and Tim Miley, D, Harrison. We appreciate that Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R, Ohio, and Senator Glenn Jeffries, D, Putnam, spoke in favor of the bill. We also would like to thank Chairman Eric Nelson, Jr., R, Kanawha, for his leadership on this issue.”
The group also values the support and leadership of Justice as well as his staff. The West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office is developing standards and procedures to educate and promote the program to the public.
For more information relating to the historic tax credit program, contact Jennifer Brennan, State Historic Tax Credit Coordinator at 304-558-0240.
For additional information regarding this effort, contact the Preservation Alliance of WV Advocacy Chairman Mike Gioulis at 304-545-4881, or visit www.pawv.org and www.revitalizewvdowntowns.com.
In early 2016, the Abandoned Property Coalition, a network of community leaders, and local, regional, and national organizations developing community-based solutions to vacant, abandoned, and dilapidated properties across West Virginia, held a strategy session to determine what the Coalition should focus its energy on over the course of the next year. Four people, including representatives from the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, signed on to research the possibility of pushing forward policy around increasing the rate of West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit from 10% to 25%.
One major issue the group quickly came to realize was that although West Virginia has 92 commercial and mixed-use historic districts ripe for revitalization –developers choose to invest in neighboring states instead of our downtowns due to West Virginia’s uncompetitive 10% historic rehabilitation tax credit. Neighboring states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, all have 25% historic rehabilitation tax credits.
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