Historical Village Store Bill makes Progress

Historic Village Store Bill Makes Progress


On February 5, the Senate Ways and Means Committee voted to support SB43, a bill that recognizes the important role of small, historically-significant retail properties in our communities. The bill’s next stop in the legislative process is a vote of the full Senate.

The Preservation Alliance applauds the bill’s purpose — encouraging the preservation and vibrant use of a very special type of New Hampshire historic resource — and believes that the bill offers a focused way to help meet that goal in municipalities that choose to participate.

Why these places are important: Over the last decade, historic village stores have received new attention in New Hampshire and across the country as an “endangered species” of sorts.  As several closed or faced uncertain futures in the Granite Sate, the Preservation Alliance received many calls for help from community members who saw these stores as more than places to buy milk or a sandwich, but places to meet neighbors, share news and keep connected to each other. Rather than try to freeze them in time, the Preservation Alliance has provided information and resources to help many community groups and private owners consider ways to preserve these landmarks of generations of community life while keeping them active businesses and centers of community life for the future.

Community members came together in Hooksett, Canterbury, Sandwich and Harrisville to start a new generation of ownership and new business plans.  In  models thus far, what has been most successful are different combinations of underlying non-profit ownership and/or “slow money” community asset investors (that were satisfied by no or slow returns), combined with strong privately-run operations as tenants or lessees.  This bill could be a big boost to those historic preservation business models, to aid their sustainability, to make the businesses stronger.

  Focused property tax relief design: Historic preservation, community and business interests intersect in this bill’s very targeted design.  Only small stores with high historic integrity in non-profit ownership that are listed on the state or national register of historic places qualify.  And this provision is at the discretion of the local town or city’s governing body.

article above courtesy of New Hampshire preservation alliance


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