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Local communities receive tax credits

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By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — The Vermont Downtown Development Board (VDDB) on Thursday awarded $837,039 in tax credits to redevelopment of older and/or historic buildings in 11 communities, including a combined total of $236,344 for the renovation of structures in Middlebury and Vergennes.
Among those awarded tax credits were Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater ($160,640); the Grist Mill at 360 Main St., Vergennes ($61,693); and 94-96 Main St., Vergennes ($14,011).

Projects on the list involving private property are now entitled to tax deductions to help underwrite qualifying renovations. Nonprofits on the list can sell their credits to a bank to raise cash for their projects, under a new program approved by the Legislature last year.

Property owners cannot claim any of the credits until their respective building repairs are completed.

The awards support projects to rehabilitate buildings, help meet elevator, sprinkler and other code requirements, and improve building facades in designated downtowns and village centers for use as office, retail, and housing space.

“These awards demonstrate Vermont’s commitment to redeveloping downtowns and villages for residential and commercial activity,� Gov. James Douglas, a Middlebury Republican, said in announcing the awards. “They will contribute to my administration’s goal of strengthening our community centers by making fuller use of downtown and village buildings.�

The $837,039 in awards is the largest total awarded in a single round of grants, and the 11 towns is also the largest number of recipients ever, according to Kevin Dorn, chairman of the Downtown Development Board and Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
There are now 68 designated village centers in the state, all eligible for state benefits to help in their revitalization.

A nonprofit group renovating Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater will be able to use proceeds from the tax credits to address many delayed maintenance issues while rehabilitating the theater for contemporary use. The project brings the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, with installation of an elevator and a lift, and makes numerous life safety and code improvements, including a sprinkler system.

Developers of the Vergennes Grist Mill will be able to use the tax credits to defray expenses of bringing the building up to code, including installing a fire sprinkler system. The project — which will produce commercial space and market rate housing — is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2007.

Work on 94-96 Main St., Vergennes, involves bringing the building up to code, restoring the exterior integrity of a the structure by removing aluminum siding and a large 1960s-style, two-story portico. The building will be used for market rate housing.

Other communities receiving tax credits include: St. Johnsbury, $119,637 for 1222 Main St.; Fair Haven, $76,624 for 41-43 Main St.; Wallingford, $53,600 for 289 South Main St.; Bradford, six separate affordable housing projects, $107,000; Hardwick, $112,449, 41 South Main St.;
Hardwick, $75,816, 35 South Main St.; Montpelier, $20,000, 1-3 Cliff St.;
Proctorsville, $24,050, 437 Main St.; Bellows Falls, $4,500, 5 Canal St.;
Bennington, $7,019, 409 Main St.

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