Right now, House File 652 is moving through the Iowa House. Passage would greatly diminish the effectiveness of the State Historic Tax credit program. The current bill would reduce the amount of the annual allotment from $45 million to $35 million and the credit from 25 percent to 15 percent.
This program has helped spearhead revitalization of our historic built environment, all across Iowa’s legacy communities, including Davenport. According to a 2014 Iowa Department of Revenue report, Scott County received more than $34 million in tax credit awards between 2000 and 2014.
The credit isn’t limited to large commercial buildings. Dollars are also available for rehabilitation of small businesses and historic residences; people across Davenport have been able to access funding to help restore their homes.
Not-for-profit organizations also benefit. Tax credits are helping restore Forest Grove School in Bettendorf; Gateway Redevelopment Group used the program to restore a dilapidated house at 822 Gaines St. slated for demolition, selling it and returning it to the tax rolls.
Iowa residents and communities need the state historic tax credit program to continue at its current levels to maintain Iowa’s heritage downtowns, neighborhoods, and historic sites. Legislators need to hear from constituents now.
Editor’s note: Meginnis is the vice-chair of the Davenport Historic Preservation Commission, a board member of the Gateway Redevelopment Group and Gold Coast-Hamburg Historic District Association.