Historic preservation can be financial windfall for Pa. towns

    A report on historic preservation shows the proper practices can help Pennsylvania in a pinched economy.

    It might not be as simple as slapping a bunch of “historic district” signs around your town, according to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

    But a new report does show that spending money on preserving sites and neighborhoods can boost property values, take advantage of federal tax credits, and create jobs.

    Commission spokesman Howard Pollman said he hopes the study dispels some of the arguments made most frequently against efforts to fix up an old building or revitalize a certain district.

    “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about historic preservation and what that entails. That it’s something that stops progress and gets in the way and takes more time,” Pollman said. “Those are large misconceptions.”

    Pollman said the report is intended to be a tool to back up local communities as they try to spearhead historic preservation projects.

    Heritage-site tourism, a byproduct of preservation, attracts 32 million visitors and $1 billion in visitor spending every year, according to the commission.

    From 1978 to 2010, more than $7 billion was invested in historical preservation projects across the state, Pollman said.

    The report indicates that resulted in about $17.1 billion in total economic impact.

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