Hawley-Mantel Property Improvement Grant
The Blue Island Historic Preservation Commission’s (HPC) local renovation grant program makes funds available to property owners of registered historic buildings who need to make exterior improvements to preserve the historic integrity of landmarks. Individual landmark buildings, as well as those located within the Old Western Historic District are eligible to apply. The fund was renamed in 2006 to honor Thomas Mantel and Thomas Hawley in appreciation for their personal contribution towards historic preservation in Blue Island.
The grant is awarded each summer, with available funding announced by the HPC in May. Grant Recipient(s) property will be featured at the annual Cavalcade of Pride in September.
County & State Incentives
Property Tax Freeze Program
Owner-Occupied Blue Island landmarks are eligible for the State-run Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program. The assessed value is frozen for 8 years, and is then stepped back up over 4 years. To qualify owners must spend 25% of the assessed value of their property on a rehab project that has been approved by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). Each project is judged according to Secretary of the Interior Standards, available at www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/standguide/. The IHPA offers a summary and an application at www.illinoishistory.gov/PS/freezeap.pdf.
Class L (Landmark) Tax Valuation
Cook County’s Class L tax incentive is designed to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of locally designated commercial, industrial, or multi-family buildings. Following an extensive rehab of at least 50% of the structure’s assessed value, the owner could be eligible for a reduced tax rate–16% for the first 10 years. A copy of the eligibility bulletin and application form is available online at www.cookcountyassessor.com/forms/clslb.pdf.
Rehabilitation Tax Credit
20% Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Historic Properties
The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program is available for income-producing properties, including rental properties, that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It allows the owner of a historic building to receive an income tax CREDIT of 20% of the amount spent to rehabilitate a certified historic structure.
10% Rehabilitation Tax Credit for Non-Historic Commercial Buildings Built Before 1936
There is also a 10% credit for older (before 1936), non-historic buildings. The program is jointly managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and the IRS with assistance from the State Historic Preservation Office. For more info the incentives visit www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/tax/incentives/index.htm. The National Trust has a helpful guide at www.ntcicfunds.com/taxcreditguide/.
A conservation easement ensures that a qualifying structure–any National Historic Landmark or a building that contributes to a Historic District–is maintained in a manner consistent with its original architectural form. Easements are a popular tool for preservationists as they offer substantial tax benefits. Covered in Section 170(h) of the IRS Code, a portion of the conservation easement qualifies as a non-cash charitable contribution. Rules have recently changed, so the National Trust for Historic Preservation offers a guide at www.nationaltrust.org/legal/easements/.