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John Sprinkle (user 78) - Comments by Date

Let's focus a tiny portion of our 2011 budget on job creation through the enhancement and rehabilitation of those qualities that make Alexandria an exciting place to live, work and visit--namely our historic neighborhoods. Each year over the last decade our neighbors in Arlington have generated about 100 new jobs AND $750,000 in state tax credits to local property owners! If Arlington can create jobs and tax credits through historic preservation, why can't Alexandria?

John Sprinkle (78) | User | March 23, 2010 - 5:34 PM | FY 2011 Budget Process

A Preservation Recipe for Alexandria

Here’s a recipe for an affordable, sustainable and diverse community that is rich history and culture—and one that annually produces 100 new jobs for our citizens AND $750,000 in state tax credits to local property owners!
1. Take $5,000 per year of city funds.
2. Match them with about $5,000 per year of federally mandated state grants.
3. Fold in one motivated historic preservation professional with the mission to make preservation pay within Alexandria.
4. Add one supportive city council.

Bake for 20 years and what will you get?
* A city that has identified and evaluated ALL of its historic buildings, recognizing more than 10,500 buildings for their historical and architectural significance;
* A Planning Department that knows exactly which buildings are significant and, just as importantly, which buildings are not significant in the city’s history;
* Two dozen federally recognized historic districts covering one-half of the city’s property;
* Nearly 150 certified rehabilitation tax credit projects with a total private sector investment of more than $60 million;
* $15 million in state tax credits for property owners; and,
* The creation of almost 2200 good jobs—over 10 percent more job creation than a comparable investment in new construction.

Unfortunately, this successful recipe that merges economic viability with historic preservation has been tested and proven, not in Alexandria, but by our neighbors in Arlington. In contrast, over the last 20 years Alexandria has witnessed only 19 state rehabilitation tax credit projects (two of which were on the same house) with a total investment of only $4 million.

Because Alexandria’s leadership has made the choice, over the last twenty years, NOT to survey its newly historic neighborhoods, NOT to officially recognize these homes and businesses, and, NOT to actively support property whose owners could take advantage of the Virginia historic rehabilitation tax credit program, we have lost a great opportunity to revitalize our city by making historic preservation pay.

As Alexandria updates its strategic plan, let us learn from our missed opportunities by providing the ingredients necessary to ensure the sustainability of our affordable, diverse, and historic community. Let’s borrow a page from Arlington’s historic preservation cookbook and create lots of good jobs at the same time we give our citizens a substantial tax break. Invest in Alexandria's future by fostering the preservation of its past.

John Sprinkle & Esther White (78) | User | December 16, 2009 - 10:27 PM | City of Alexandria Strategic Planning