Last year, the Boyle Landmark Trust celebrated the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act with other local, state, and federal historic preservation organizations. At that time, an outlook of hope for the future and reflections on previous success stories were shared. Less than a year later, the historic preservation organizations across our country are fighting the toughest battle we have faced in decades, because the Federal Historic Tax Credit is in jeopardy of being eliminated.
The Federal Historic Tax Credit was permanently included in President Ronald Regan’s tax code in 1986. Those who qualify for this program can receive up to 20 percent in tax credits on the amount spent on investing in the restoration of historic buildings. President Reagan described his program as “not only a matter of respect for our beauty and history but good economic sense.”
According to information through the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the National Park Service, 345 historic properties have been rehabilitated during the period of 2002-2016 in Kentucky. In addition, 9,583 jobs were created with over half being permeant jobs, and $112,187,000.00 tax dollars were generated ($27,703,700.00 were local and state tax dollars.)
It is clear that Kentucky has been a beneficiary of the Federal Historic Tax Credit, but what about Boyle County and our neighboring counties? In Boyle County, there have been two properties that benefited from the Federal Historic Tax Credit. The Ledonne Building (235 W. Main Street) and the Bright House and Farmstead (2626 Lexington Road) are examples of why this program is vital to historic preservation.
Our neighboring counties have also utilized this program to revitalize their downtowns and historic homes. Garrard and Mercer Counties have had three successful projects, and Lincoln County has had five properties that were saved with the help of the Federal Historic Tax Credit.
Over the past few years, Boyle County has lost some of its iconic historic homes including the Fish-Byington House and the Judge Boyle House. These properties may have been saved with the assistance of the Federal Historic Tax Credit.
The incentives for future adaptive reuse of our historic areas are endangered. The Boyle Landmark Trust urges citizens that care about our architectural and local history to contact their Congressional Representatives and Senators. Express to them the importance of our historic homes, our main streets, and our heritage.