Gov. Walker Partially Lifts Moratorium on Historic Preservation Tax Credit

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email

Mayors across Wisconsin are applauding Governor Walker after he made the decision to partially lift a recent ban on tax cuts for restoring old buildings.

The Historic Preservation Tax Credit gives tax credits to people or developers rehabilitating historic buildings throughout Wisconsin. The goal is to encourage reinvestment into Wisconsin's aging communities.

More than 400 cities and villages will be eligible for tax credit. One of those cities is right in our own backyard. For years Wisconsin Rapids has been forced to demolish old, historic buildings because of funding. But thanks to Governor Walker's partial lift of the ban on the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, Mayor Zack Vruwink hopes that trend will come to an end.

So does downtown business owner and developer Andy Nelson. Nelson owns three buildings downtown. One of which he is currently in the process of restoring. He hopes the tax credit will help alleviate some of the financial risk associated with refurbishment.

"When you have developers or people that are buying buildings that are looking to restore them, they're putting their own money into them," Nelson explained. "Very seldom, unoless you have an end user line up for you, you're financing it yourself."

So why take the risk in the first place? Let's put it this way, there's no place like home.

"If you live in a community and you want it to be beautiful and you want people to enjoy it, we can't have all the old things torn down," Nelson said.

"Our downtown and hitstoric district really are the cornerstone of our communities and any walk in the downtown of any community will really be a story of it's past and where it has been, but also an illustration of where it's going," Mayor Vruwink added.

Nelson has been working on his current project for three years. The building, built in 1894, used to be a mercantile store. Nelson plans to turn it into an apartment upstairs and a retail space downstairs.

Nelson says even if you're not a developer you can still help their cause out by supporting local businesses that choose to develop downtown.

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