Small towns and cities around Arkansas are calling on their community to help maintain the beauty of their history.
Groups like Pine Bluff Rising are concerned that Historic Tax Credits aren't a part of the tax reform discussion happening right now. Historic Tax Credit helps keep the integrity of building stock in downtowns all over the U.S.
Now, Main Street Directors in Pine Bluff are urging Orrin Hatch, finance chairman, to include this issue on the Senate Reform Bill.
“Please tell them how important it is to the community. We worked hard to get it and now we need to keep it,” said Executive Director of Pine Bluff Downtown Incorporated, Joy Blankenship.
Historic Tax Credits help to create jobs and flourish economic development. The city of Pine Bluff and other small towns around Arkansas benefit from the assistance.
“Tax credits are available to anybody who pays income tax, whether you're an individual, LLC, corporation or a partnership,” Blankenship said.
She, and the city, are concerned about what lies ahead. “In reference to the reform bill, we want to keep the tax credits. We're all calling our Congressman and asking Orrin Hatch to keep it on the calendar and events. We need our tax credits,” she said.
Historic Tax Credits help save unique heritage, attract private investment, and help bridge financial gaps between what a bank will lend and cost of rehabilitation.
“Things are down here now. A lot of people actually forgot about Barraque Street because Main Street was closed for so long,” said Margaret Smith, owner of Unique Cakes located in downtown Pine Bluff.
She used tax credits to help fund her cupcake shop in area that's now growing.
“Now with other businesses coming here, people are coming to see what's on Barraque sand it's so exciting. I love it,” Smith said.
Soon she’ll have neighbors on each side of her business. A coffee shop and new local entertainment are coming to the area soon.
“There’s going to be a blues and jazz club in one of the oldest buildings in Pine Bluff. It used to be a funeral home,” said Blakenship.
You can contact Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, Representative Bruce Westerman, Senator Tom Cotton or John Bozeman to help maintain tax credits for your area.