By Nicole Marrocco / WV Community Development Hub
Little excites me more than a community finding a modern use for a historic building.
Nerdy, I know.
But just check out this church turned indoor rock gym, gas station turned restaurant, and bank turned grocery store, and I guarantee you’ll be geeking out over the untapped potential of abandoned and underperforming historic buildings alongside me.
Historic tax credits make it possible to revitalize historic properties that have a financing gap between what banks will lend and the total cost of rehabilitation.
Developers restoring income-producing (i.e. commercial, industrial, agricultural, or rental-residential) buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places or certified by the National Parks Service can apply for personal or corporate net income tax credits from West Virginia worth 10 percent of rehabilitation expenses.
Unfortunately, West Virginia’s 10 percent rate just isn’t cutting it — especially considering all of our neighboring states have either a 20 or 25 percent historic tax credit rate. Developers are wary of rehabbing buildings here because the risk is so much higher compared to places just across the state border.
Over the last few months, the Revitalize West Virginia’s Downtowns Coalition (including Generation West Virginia) has been advocating to increase the rate to 25 percent to make our state’s historic districts more attractive to developers and spur private investment.
Read the full UpThink to find out why — as a young person living in West Virginia — I believe an increased historic tax credit rate is a game-changer.
By Joselyn King / The Intelligencer
WHEELING — The West Virginia House of Delegates passed its version of a revenue bill Friday on what was the sixth day of a special legislative session in Charleston called for setting the state’s 2018 budget.
Despite a long agenda of proposed amendments, House Bill 107 was approved with few changes from the measure passed Thursday by the House Finance Committee. It would maintain West Virginia’s consumer sales tax at 6 percent, but would eliminate sales tax exemptions on cellphone services. It also would make no changes to the state’s coal and gas severance tax rates, but would gradually eliminate all taxation of Social Security within the next three years.
Read the full story, including more about the historic tax credit, at theintelligencer.net.
By Ashton Marra / WV Public Broadcasting
Members of the House are standing their ground when it comes to tax reform. At least, that’s what House Speaker Tim Armstead said Friday after a vote in the chamber on its own version of a revenue bill.
The bill does not include any of the changes to the personal income tax Senate Republicans and Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to, but Armstead said that doesn’t mean his chamber isn’t still willing to work on a compromise.
Members of the House voted 74 to 17 in favor of the tax bill negotiated between House Democrats and Republicans.
It brings in an estimated $100 million in additional revenue to close a budget gap in the 2018 fiscal year, which isn’t enough according to members of the chamber, but is a start.
Read the full story, including more about the historic tax credit, at wvpublic.org.
Although the main order of business is to pass a budget, Governor Jim Justice has made it a priority to also include increasing the state’s historic tax credit to the agenda, and we’re really excited about it.
Increasing the state’s historic tax credit to 25 percent will help spark new development in West Virginia’s historic downtowns. As the statewide organization dedicated to attracting and retaining young people in the Mountain State, we know that quality of place is a driving factor for young people in choosing where they want to live and work. Young people want to be where the action is and an increase in historic tax credit will help West Virginia build walkable, vibrant communities that are especially attractive to the next generation.
Check out the special session update from Generation West Virginia.
After receiving widespread bipartisan support during the regular session, historic tax credit legislation ultimately failed on the final day of regular session.
But now we have another chance to increase the state’s historic tax credit, and we need your help to do it. If revitalizing your downtown is a priority to you, let your representatives know by clicking here.
The 2017 Homes Tour weekend of June 9, 10, and 11, 2017 will have some amazing opportunities for our guests. On Friday night, our Gala will be at the new home of Angus Peyton. His hill top eyrie provides magnificent views to the far away mountains and cool breezes across the patios. Ticket holders will enjoy both as well as wine and hors d’oeuvres.
On Saturday, the traditional tour of homes will include a former girls dormitory, now a stately home; a former art gallery that retains its graciousness; a home that has survived war and floods and still welcomes visitors; and the Presidents’ House Museum at the Greenbrier as well as another historic cottage if available.
On Sunday, St. Thomas Episcopal Church in White Sulphur Springs will welcome guests to its historic sanctuary for two separate sessions (2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.), to view folk art paintings and have afternoon tea. A special presentation by Neely Seams portraying Medal of Freedom winner Katherine Johnson will offer insight into her life in White Sulphur Springs and beyond.
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) will be establishing a historic preservation revolving loan fund to support historic preservation projects in the state of West Virginia. To meet that goal, PAWV plans to engage professional services of a consultant (firm) who is an expert in the disciplines of revolving fund mechanisms, real estate development, and historic preservation. The successful proposer will work closely with a PAWV committee to develop Operating Guidelines and materials for the new revolving loan fund.
Formed in 1982, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV) is the only statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Mountain State’s cultural heritage. PAWV’s formal mission is, “With a commitment to preserve our unique cultural heritage, PAWV and its members work to save our past for the present and future, supporting and promoting historic preservation through education & outreach, advocacy, preservation tools, and heritage tourism.”
By Edward Pride, Preserve WV AmeriCorps
With its doors closed, contents in storage, and contractors walking the halls; the antebellum mansion known as Waldomore, located in Clarksburg, has temporarily closed for an extensive renovation. This renovation is part of a revitalization of Waldomore and its collections. The staff has turned their attention to several crucial matters: developing guidelines for new donations, bringing organization and order to the building’s contents, and reviving the building’s museum function.
Permanence requires adaptation.
Waldomore was built in 1842 to be the residence of Waldo P. Goff, a successful investor and businessman. The building was enlarged in the 1890s by his daughter, May and her husband Richard Lowndes. Childless and in possession of a landmark property with no clear future, May gave the mansion to the city of Clarksburg in 1930 for use as a library and museum. In the spring of 1931, the mansion underwent a series of modifications before opening as the Clarksburg Public Library’s new home.
In 1975, the Library moved to its present building next door and Waldomore took on a new role. The ground floor became a meeting and performance space, with antique furnishing and display cases. The second floor would become home to the library’s regional history and genealogy department. In 1990, an archival collection, the papers and publications of UFO writer and publisher Gray Barker, would be added to Waldomore’s holdings. As the collections grew deterioration of the aging building set in, the charm of the building combatted the sense that things were amiss.
Renovation and Opportunity
A leaking roof and an outdated electrical system were the largest issues plaguing the building. A new roof in 2013 brought an end to the continual shifting of materials to avoid damaging leaks. Roof replacement prevented further damage but Waldomore still had extensive plaster and paint damage throughout the second floor as well as the electrical system. But a new issue arose: organization of the materials on the second floor
In October 2015, Clarksburg was awarded a grant by the WV Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval by the WV Commission on the Arts, to replace the electrical system, repair plaster damage, paint, and install new carpeting. This grant provided a unique opportunity to reorganize Waldomore as the complete removal of all contents was necessary for the renovation. Past plans to reorganize the collection had not envisioned the scale of working on the entire contents at one time.
Hidden Gems: Collection Material
Over the course of the packing process, a large number of the materials discovered were expected such as the wealth of photographs featuring people and locations across North Central West Virginia, negatives from a local photography studio, and numerous artifacts including a box of plant fossils.
One of the unexpected discoveries was a large quantity of fine china, including sets from England, France, Bavaria, and beyond. A few pieces had been on display, but significant portions of each set were stored throughout the building wherever space was available. Each time the staff thought they had packed the last piece china, another location would produce more.
The most meaningful discoveries were made along the way. The staff uncovered a group of Harpers’ Weeklies and Harpers’ Illustrated Histories of the War of the Rebellion, both of predated 1900. The staff also discovered items that belonged to Richard and May Lowndes, the previous owners of the mansion. From May, a large Staffordshire soup tureen, and from Richard, a group of books complete with bookplates featuring Waldomore.
The staff has a new appreciation for the diversity of Waldomore’s holdings. When this process began, we believed that most of the materials would be books, family histories, and genealogy files. We did not anticipate the amount of artifacts and archival materials that were uncovered. Our original plan to create a strong regional history/genealogy library with a few artifacts and 2 archival special collections would need to be altered to include a much larger archival storage area.
This has led to a complete redesign of the collection storage areas on the second floor. We have been designing the new areas to maximize their usability and capacity. As the redesign continued, they staff had to identify the appropriate storage conditions for various materials and ensure that they are met. The most visible additions are the two map cabinets to properly store and protect oversize posters and maps.
As we have been working on the physical space in Waldomore, we are also revising and evaluating the policies and procedures for Waldomore’s collection. We have reviewed Waldomore’s mission, geographic range of the collection, and the collecting policy to update and streamline these to reflect the current and future nature of the materials in the Collection.
Lastly, the staff has developed a system for arranging and organizing collection materials as they return to the building. All incoming materials must be verified against the library’s catalog. Materials that exist in the catalog will be given new labels; uncatalogued materials will be processed, cataloged, and given a label. Once complete, Waldomore will have its first uniform arrangement system; which can be maintained as the collection grows.
As the renovation draws to a close, Waldomore finds itself entering a new chapter. With freshly renovated spaces, redesigned storage areas, and cataloged materials, when Waldomore reopens its doors, it will be with a new appreciation of its collection and a revitalized mission. If you would like to see the transformation, please visit Waldomore’s blog, www.waldomore.wordpress.com, or our Facebook page, Historic Waldomore.
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