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Historic Preservation Tax Credits in Springfield part 1

KSMU's Mike Smith looks at the use and value of Historic Preservation Tax Credits in downtown Springfield development.

Sound of a backhoe digging a trench at Springfield’s Park Central Square:

For KSMU’s Sense of Community Series, I’m Mike Smith, in downtown Springfield where construction crews from Springfield Public Works are busy with a retro renovation of Park Central Square which the Federal Government recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The goal is to return the square to a resemblance of its original design and flow of traffic as drawn in the early 1970’s by architect Lawrence Halprin. The scheduled completion date is this November. A little over 5 years ago, another Park Central Project got underway when Springfield developer Craig Wagoner secured funding needed for the historic renovation of the building which occupies a portion of the SW corner of the square. That space is now home to a photography gallery, loft apartments, The Coffee Ethic coffee lounge, and the Park Central Branch of the Springfield/Greene County Library District. Wagoner says the project would not be possible w/o tax credits and other incentives from the state of Missouri. There are over 60 types of tax credit programs in Missouri, including the Family Farm Breeding Tax Credit; the Domestic Violence Shelter Tax Credit; and the Disabled Access Tax Credit. There is also the Brownfield Remediation Tax Credit, and one our Sense of Community Series will focus on today, the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which has changed the look and feel of downtown Springfield.Craig Wagoner’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit for his Park Central Square project was but one of over 1,700 HPTC’s awarded by the state between 2000 and 2009, totaling some 832 million dollars. According to the Mo. Dept. of Economic Development and the Missouri Growth Association, the resulting developments leveraged nearly 3 billion dollars in private investment and helped create or keep over 43,000 jobs. Wagoner’s Park Central project is a good example of that as that one building alone is utilized for residential, commercial, and governmental (public) purposes. Jim Schmidt, Associate Director of the Springfield/Greene County Library District tells KSMU that the Park Central Branch has 6 full time and 1 part time employees, and last year checked out over 68,000 items, and logged 35,000 hours of computer usage by the public. He also says there were over 182,000 visitors to the branch last year. When we continue the KSMU Sense of Community Series on All Things Considered this afternoon, we’ll learn more about the use Historic Preservation Tax Credits in Springfield and how their issuance will be reduced pending action in the Missouri Legislature. For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith.