OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — History is something to be treasured, but when left untouched, it’s at the expense of either demolition or kind wallets and visionary eyes.
But in West Virginia, state leaders hope newly approved legislation will return investment and Wheeling’s mayor already thinks the city will be at a competitive advantage
A 25 percent historic tax credit, a program that’s been used over the years, was set to expire. State Senator Ryan Weld put himself in an investor’s shoes:
I’m a little worried because this program is going to end in a year and I’m going to get this rug pulled out from under me on this project.State Senator Ryan Weld, District 1, West Virginia
Permanent legislation, headed by Senator Weld, has passed with bipartisan support. Just in time as projects in Wheeling total more than $51-million in investment, according to Wheeling Heritage. The Friendly City’s mayor says you have no idea how great this is.
Earlier this year we announced the Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel project. That’s a $30-Million investment in downtown Wheeling that would not have happened without these tax credits being increased.Mayor Glenn Elliott, Wheeling
Vacant downtown buildings home to the likes of Mugshots coffee shop! The mayor is now hinting at buyers of the Marsh-Wheeling building.
We have only 27,000 people, but a lofty amount of history.
“If you look at our stock of architecture, it’s almost unmatched for a city of our size,” said Mayor Elliott. “We’re always trying to pitch to developers to come to Wheeling and make investments here. The problem is these old buildings tend to cost a little more money.”
Mayor Elliott says 9 times out of 10, new builds might last less than a century, but these historic ones: forever.
“I think it’s almost always worth doing if the money makes sense and what these tax credits do is make the equation work.”
“Not just dollar cents but the number of buildings that have been rehabbed across the state. And two, this is a program that helps both large and small cities. You are afforded the same 25 percent on your overall project here in Wheeling that you would be if you went to Wellsburg.”Mayor Elliott and Senator Weld
The senator says it’s a vital aid to spark comeback in our downtowns, not just in Wheeling, but in all of West Virginia.