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By Shane Goodman shane@dmcityview.com

Rebuilding history

Talk to people who have toured European cities and they will go on about the beauty of the architecture and the focus the citizens have on preserving it. Europeans build structures to last well beyond their own lives. You won’t find metal pole barns or temporary structures that we too often see here in America.

But there’s a cost to restoring historic buildings, too. In Iowa, it is referred to as “financial incentives.” The Iowa Legislature created a package in 2000 that provided tax credits to developers who restored buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a complicated system that did not exactly work out as planned, to the dismay of some.

Reporter Sean Miller explains in this week’s cover story how the Department of Cultural Affairs has dealt with the funding of the program in its relation to the value of the projects requested. The end result was postdating tax credits until funding was available, a move that some say destroyed the program. The Legislature increased funding this year with a bill that reformed the program. Some call it necessary to preserve history; others refer to it as a subsidy for rich developers. We call it another well intended, but mismanaged, government program. Let’s hope the “new and improved” program has the intended results.

Thanks for reading.

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