Downtown Improvement Tax Credits for Hartland and White River Junction

Post Office WRJ

Google Maps Screen Shot of the Post Office Building in White River Junction, Vermont

155 Route 5Governor Peter Shumlin today announced $2M in tax credits to for Vermont Downtown Improvement projects. The credits will help reduce the cost of projects throughout the State, including a $10,255 credit for renovation of the old Post Office in White River Junction by the Center for Cartoon Studies and another credit of $35,533 for renovation of a Route 5 building located at Hartland Three Corners near Mascoma Bank.

Concerning the plan for renovating a building at 155 Route 5, Charles Spear of  Downward Dog LLC, wrote  of the need for local, safe rental housing, particularly close to Village amenities:

Community Impact:
There are very few rental locations in town and none set up. for senior housing. These apartments are
within 100-200 feet of stores, laundry, gas station, post office, and the library. The owner’s goal is to
work with the town and offer these units to seniors. Also in improving these units it is a hope to attract
more quality, economical and responsible renters to the community. This building has been badly neglected with many safety issues and fire hazards, this project would turn this main area in town into an attractive -safe living area for those in and around the building. Hartland is one of the main routes to get to Quechee and Woodstock.

Right next door Mascoma Bank is currently rebuilding their bank, I believe that with the work on this house and the future work for the building with the stores in between, it willgreatly improve the entire center of town and give the curb appeal needed, making it more attractive and noticeable for people to consider Hartland as a destination to live versus just driving through.

Here is the text of the Governor’s Press Release:

Governor Shumlin Announces $2 Million in Downtown Tax Credits


MORRISVILLE – Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the allocation of nearly $2 million in tax credits to support about $18 million in building improvements and investment to help revitalize Vermont’s downtowns and community centers. Competitively awarded by the Downtown Development Board, this year’s tax credits went to 31 projects in 20 communities.

Among the projects, credits will support the reconstruction of the Landry Block in St. Johnsbury, which was severely damaged by fire in December 2012. Also on the list are new investments in the vacant and underutilized Shade Roller Mill in Vergennes, and the Catamount High School in Bennington, as well as the rehabilitation, façade improvement and code upgrades to six projects in Morrisville, including the former Arthurs Department Store on Lower Main Street.

Other project highlights include access and safety improvements at Barre’s National Historic Landmark – the Old Labor Hall; conversion of the former Masonic Building in Springfield into space for four commercial enterprises; rehabilitation of the vacant Bank Block in Richford’s center; rehabilitation of the former Post Office in White River Junction for the Center for Cartoon Studies and Schulz Library; and flood repairs and rehabilitation of the Vermont House in Wilmington.

“Historic preservation has always been an important component of Vermont’s community and economic development strategy, and the state tax credit program not only helps repair these buildings, but also creates jobs and attracts businesses and tourists to our downtowns,” the Governor said at an announcement ceremony today in Morrisville.

The tax credit program is one of the benefits of Downtown and Village Center Designation. The funds make it possible to revitalize hard-to-finance projects in community centers across the state, supporting state-mandated code retrofits like elevators and sprinklers systems that are cost prohibitive to many commercial building owners. This year is no exception. Tax credits will support installation or upgrade of 7 elevators and 22 sprinkler systems, making our downtowns safer and more accessible.

“Across the state tax credits have successfully channeled public and private investments into our downtowns and village centers.  As we’ve seen in Hardwick and Barre, the program has a proven track record sparking community revitalization,” said House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morrisville. “With six tax credit projects planned or ongoing in Morrisville, we’re well-positioned to be the next downtown success story.”

Noelle Mackay, Commissioner of the Department of Housing, and Community Development, and Chair of the Downtown Board said, “Program changes made this year help prepare the ground for expanded economic activity and housing opportunities in walkable areas around Vermont’s downtowns and villages.  These changes are an important part of our ongoing efforts to make more sustainable and strategic infrastructure investments and create more jobs and housing opportunities in and around our community centers.”

Vermont’s Downtown Program is an incentive and training program that helps maintain Vermont’s compact development pattern by targeting state resources to promote the efficient use of land, infrastructure, and resources.  Over 125 of Vermont’s Downtowns and Village Centers are designated and these communities receive priority for consideration for state funding, increased Act 250 thresholds, and tax credits to promote vital communities.  Map of designated communities.

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