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Report Shows Historic Preservation Good for State Economy

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program - Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Report Shows Historic Preservation Good for State Economy

The combined use of historic preservation resources has significantly contributed to our state’s healthy economy, according to a report commissioned by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP).

“As good stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is important for Arkansas Heritage to measure the impact of historic preservation in our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and the State Historic Preservation Officer. “The survey done by PlaceEconomics clearly demonstrates that Arkansas’s investment in preserving our built history and using it as a tool for community revitalization is a model for the nation. Our practices have created heritage tourism opportunities, real jobs, economic gains and improved quality of life in Arkansas communities, large and small.”

Hurst adds that the report demonstrates how vital historic preservation is to the state’s economy by noting that in the last decade the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit has attracted nearly $224 million in private investment for the rehabilitation of historic properties.

The AHPP recently commissioned the report by PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development-consulting firm, to determine the economic impact of historic preservation. The report looked at different but overlapping programs within the AHPP: Main Street Arkansas, the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit and Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s grants. The full report can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/31L9gyH .

Snapshots from the report include:

  • In the last decade, the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit provided funding to help in the rehabilitation of more than 320 buildings in 24 cities.
  • Courthouses Restoration Grants have been utilized in 64 counties, preserving many buildings which would be costly to duplicate in modern times.
  • 74 of Arkansas’s 75 counties have benefitted from funding.
  • More than 2,400 grants have been given out by AHPP since 1979.
  • Main Street communities have invested over $377 million in buildings, infrastructure and public improvements, 78 percent of which has come from the private sector and created more than 3,900 jobs since Main Street Arkansas’s inception in 1984.

Main Street Arkansas is a leading advocate for downtown revitalization providing resources, education and professional assistance to spark life in Arkansas's downtowns. The Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit became state law in 2009 and allows Arkansans to claim a portion of their qualified historic property investment as a credit on their state income taxes. The AHPP serves as the state liaison between the property owners and the National Park Service, the federal agency that administers the federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. Other AHPP funding sources include Certified Local Government Grants, Courthouse Restoration Grants and Historic Preservation Restoration Grants.

“It’s truly impressive visiting one of our Main Street communities and seeing where the various programs have overlapped,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage.

The report showcases examples in the cities of Batesville, Conway, El Dorado, Fort Smith, Helena, Hot Springs, Little Rock and North Little Rock.

“These examples highlight the impact we have on individual communities, businesses and families,” Bryant said. “Take for example Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. in downtown Little Rock. This Main Street business invested over a million dollars in renovations using the state historic tax credit and used a Main Street grant to build an outdoor patio area. It’s collaborations like these that make us proud.”

“The governor has made economic development a priority for our state, and we’re proud to be playing a part,” said Scott Kaufman, director of AHPP. “The report truly shows that historic preservation is good business for Arkansas.”

Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) is an agency of Arkansas Heritage. AHPP is responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. 

 



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