Speaking of shabby downtowns | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Speaking of shabby downtowns

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 8:54 AM

I happened to get a letter today from the Downtown Little Rock Partnership urging support for two bills that would give some honkin' huge state subsidies to downtown redevelopment projects.

SB 9 by Denny Altes would essentially have the state pay 25 percent of the cost, through transferrable tax credits, of rehabilitation of historic structures. You would have to rehabilitate an existing structure.

HB 1060 by Tracy Pennartz would have the state pay 20 percent of the first $2 million of a project. But any development project, rehab or new, would qualify. A new building where a parking lot once stood -- with a state agency waiting in the wings to rent -- would get the 20 percent subsidy. You don't have to think too hard to see how this bill might encourage demolition of existing structures. This prospect won't bother many. But I think it's a pity to give public dollars to support tear-downs of handsome brick architecture to make way for the likes of the prefab-style postoffices the federal govenrment now favors. Or similar. Maybe the credit shouldn't go to teardowns of historic structures.

 

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