Concord receives $700,000 tax credit grant for Main Street project
Concord has received $700,000 in tax credit grants for its upcoming Main Street redesign project.
That amount is just half of what the city had requested; its application to the state’s Community Development Finance Authority sought $1.4 million.
“I would have loved to have more, but I’m glad that the CDFA recognized the importance of the project,” said Mayor Jim Bouley.
Of the 11 organizations awarded tax credits this week, Concord received the largest grant. The CDFA awarded a total of $4.1 million for projects around the state.
With the CDFA grant, businesses can donate to the Main Street project and receive a 75 percent business tax credit for their contributions.
Bouley said he’s thankful for the award, which will “go a long way towards the private portion of the financing” for the $10.35 million project. The city has a $4.71 million federal grant to complete the project, which also must include $1.57 million from the private sector.
After the agency’s 20 percent administrative fee, Concord will have $560,000 in tax credits. That leaves more than $1 million to raise in private sector funding for the project.
Filling in that gap “will be for discussion in the upcoming months,” Bouley said.
In June, the city council delayed a decision about private sector financing, as councilors said they’d like to wait for the outcome of the tax credit grant. They also discussed creating a special assessment district, through which downtown property owners would pay an annual amount in addition to their taxes, based on a building’s Main Street frontage or assessed value. That amount would be used to pay off a bond over 20 years and could cover a portion of the private sector share of the project. Some councilors said in June that if the city received the $1.4 million it requested in tax credits, they’d like to consider absorbing the remaining cost instead of charging property owners.
The city council will now have a “dialogue with the city administration and look at various options,” said Matt Walsh, the city’s assistant for special projects.
Construction will begin in mid-September to reduce Main Street from four lanes to two lanes, widen sidewalks, increase accessibility and add landscaping and public art. The funding doesn’t necessarily need to be in place before work begins, Walsh said, and the city council will likely make a decision this fall.
“But I think things will probably start becoming more clear over the next couple of months,” he said.
The Main Street redesign was the only Concord project to receive funding through the CDFA tax credit program this year. The board of directors met Tuesday for deliberations and announced its awards yesterday.
The agency received applications totaling $12 million in tax credit requests this year, according to a release from the CDFA.
“This is the first year in our history in which we’ve had to turn down more projects than we’ve funded and the majority of those projects approved were awarded at a lower level than requested,” board Chairwoman Janet Ackerman said in a press release announcing the awards.
Eleven organizations received awards this year. They include Easter Seals of New Hampshire, an emergency homeless shelter in Manchester run by Families in Transition, an affordable housing development in Laconia and the YMCA of Exeter.