Thursday July 25, 2013

WILMINGTON -- As one of the newest towns to receive its downtown designation, businesses in the village are finding ways to benefit from different programs now available through the Vermont Downtown Program.

Two projects in Wilmington will now receive additional funding as part of a tax credit program within the statewide downtown program.

"These are certainly the first fruits of our efforts to become a downtown designation," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. "And these tax credits, as a general rule, are difficult to get."

The Wilmington projects that will receive tax credits are 15 West Main Street, or the Vermont House, and 9 West Main Street, Cane's Tavern, a bakery building. Both were bought this year.

"The Vermont House was just purchased by Robert Grinold," said Wilmington Economic Development Specialist Gretchen Havreluk. "He wants to be able to restore the building back to what it recently was, which was a restaurant, bar and it had rooms upstairs."

Cane's Tavern is owned by Michael O'Connor. He is currently looking for people to rent out the building.

The Vermont House has been allocated $63,400 through this program. Its project is set to come in at $232,600.

Cane's Tavern was allocated $41,250. Its total project cost is $125,000.

"This really helps our community with some facade changes as well as for safety and sprinkler systems," Havreluk said.


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"It does really help our community come back to what it was prior to (Tropical Storm) Irene even though these are not flood related credits like they were last year."

Businesses had received tax credits through programs for damage sustained in the storm.

Havreluk told the Reformer that although tax credits for business owners whose buildings were damaged in the Irene were available and advantageous, more tax credits are now available because the town was able to secure a downtown designation.

On July 23, Governor Peter Shumlin announced a list of approved projects with funding through $2 million in tax credits that will support $18 million "in building improvements and investments to help revitalize Vermont's downtowns and community centers."

The tax credit program is a benefit of the Vermont Downtown Program.

"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 sprinkler systems that are cost prohibitive to many commercial building owners," the press release states. "This year is no exception. Tax credits will support installation or upgrade of seven elevators and 22 sprinkler systems, making our downtowns and safer and more accessible."

This year, 31 projects were awarded by the Downtown Development Board in 20 communities.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.