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History Colorado seeks rural applicants for tax credit program

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History Colorado is calling all rural entrepreneurs with a business idea, a vision for historic preservation, and an interest in accessing tax credits to help defray eligible rehabilitation costs. Applications for the annual tax credit program are accepted on a rolling basis, but most of the credits are claimed by early November so time is of the essence to tap into the 2018 funds.

History Colorado provides technical assistance to help business owners and other interested parties navigate the historic preservation tax credit program and is especially interested in supporting projects that will create vibrant rural communities across the state.

"We've seen a lot of interest in the tax credit program along the front range since 2015, and now we are making a concerted effort to tap into rural communities across the state," said Mark A. Rodman, chief preservation programs officer and deputy state historic preservation officer for History Colorado. "The economics of maintaining vibrant and thriving small towns can be challenging, and the historic preservation tax credit program is designed to ease that burden."

Two recent examples of projects that have benefited from the tax credit program are the rehabilitation of the historic Fruitdale School in Wheat Ridge, into a 16-unit residential building, and the transformation of the Odd Fellows building, built in 1890, into New Castle Dental on Main Street in New Castle, a small mountain town near Glenwood Springs on the Western Slope.

Dr. Lauren Roper and her husband relocated to New Castle from Texas in 2015, after looking for a small, rural community to open her dental practice. With a background in interior design, Dr. Roper was thrilled when the opportunity to buy and refurbish the historic Odd Fellows building on Main Street presented itself.

"Taking on a project like this is a bit of a leap of faith," said Dr. Roper. "The best advice I can give to anyone considering marrying their business idea with historic preservation, is to just go for it. The tax credit provided a significant amount of funding for my project and working through the tax credit process with History Colorado was very helpful in making my vision a reality."

The historic preservation tax credit program has been available since 1990 and was bolstered by a 2014 Colorado state law that established a $10 million annual fund for commercial preservation projects, and additional dollars for residential projects. Since the new law took effect, more than $20 million has been awarded in commercial tax credits, generating over $180 million in construction and over $14 million in sales tax.

History Colorado is interested in hearing from business owners, farmers and ranchers, counties and municipalities, and other interested parties across Colorado with ideas about pairing business development with historic preservation. Contact a Preservation Program Associate today to start the process at hc_oahp@state.co.us or 303-866-3392.

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