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Preservation Pays

According to economist Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics in Washington, DC, historic preservation contributes more to local economies than new construction and generates more local jobs.  Here's what he had to say about it during a recent visit to the Commonwealth:

Downtown Frankfort"Here in Kentucky a million dollars spent in the rehabilitation of an historic building adds 23 jobs to the local economy. That is 2.5 more jobs than is created by a million dollars of new construction in Kentucky and 8 more jobs than a million dollars of manufacturing output in Kentucky.

"Here in Kentucky a million dollars spent in the rehabilitation of an historic building ultimately adds $730,000 in household income to the state’s economy. That is $95,000 more in household income than is created by a million dollars of new construction in Kentucky and $233,000 more in household income than a million dollars of manufacturing output in Kentucky."

The Kentucky Heritage Council continues to work closely with our partner, Preservation Kentucky Inc., to educate the public about agency programs and services, and in these tight budgetary times, demonstrate how we are being good stewards and making the most of taxpayer dollars.  The good news is we are up to this challenge and can prove, time and again, that Historic Preservation IS Economic Development.

A good example are incentives such as those offered by the Kentucky Heritage Council through state and federal preservation tax credit programs, which the agency administers.  Kentucky has been a national leader in the use of rehabilitation tax credits, for historic commercial and residential buildings listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

For fiscal year 2010, Kentucky ranked 8th nationally utilizing the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, with 27 successfully completed projects generating investment of $18,223,755. For the same time period, Kentucky also ranked 7th in approved project proposals.

Apple Tree Inn, BarbourvilleSince the Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit was implemented in 2005, 425 historic rehabilitation projects have been reviewed representing a private investment $341,614,364 in historic rehabilitation in Kentucky. This includes 128 commercial projects completed plus another 130 proposed, and 129 owner-occupied residential projects completed with another 38 proposed.

Other economic data compiled by the Kentucky Heritage Council includes information about federal grant programs [Word - 28KB] such as Save America's Treasures and Preserve America, which demonstrates how matching grants through these public-private partnerships have been leveraged to create jobs and spur local investment.

Kentucky has led the nation in the number of Preserve America designations, and this success is largely due to the hard work of local communities involved in the Kentucky Main Street Program, administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council.  Based on a model established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation National Main Street Center, Kentucky Main Street is the oldest statewide Main Street program in the nation, and it has helped spur economic revitalization in more than 100 participating Kentucky communities.  Since 1979, this program has contributed more than $3.5 billion to the state’s economy through public-private partnerships.

For more detailed information about the economics of historic preservation in Kentucky - including data reported by Congressional district - see the box at right.


The Economics of Historic Preservation

2016 Economic Impact of Historic Preservation by Congressional District

1st District

2nd District

3rd District

4th District

5th District

6th District

Flow chart - How grant funds get redistributed in a community 
[PDF - 1,122KB]

More from economist Donovan Rypkema 
[Word - 26KB]

KY Save America's Treasures projects
[Word - 28KB]

KY Preserve America projects
[Word - 33KB]

Map of KY Save America's Treasures and Preserve America grants and designated communities 
[PDF - 351KB]


Last Updated 9/19/2017