Week 6: Spreading Love for Old Buildings at the Capitol!

Florida Trust Board Member and Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Mark Zubaly and Representative Michelle Salzman with their I 💖 Old Buildings buttons.

This Valentine’s Day the Florida Trust spread the love for historic buildings at the Capitol! On February 14, the team visited legislators at the Capitol to share our Valentine’s Day buttons and spread awareness about the importance of historic preservation. The campaign offered a great opportunity to engage with lawmakers and staff and discuss historic preservation advocacy priorities.

Here are some updates from the Capitol this week:

Creating a Historic Tax Credit in Florida

Miami Design Preservation League Executive Director Daniel Ciraldo and Florida Trust Board Trustee and Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Mark Zubaly.

This week the Florida Trust continued to engage with legislators to pass the Main Street Historical Tourism and Revitalization Act, which would create an important state historic tax credit in Florida.

For that to happen, it is very important the bill gets heard in the house. You can help! Please reach out to Chairman McClain and ask him to put House Bill 1183 on the next Ways & Means Committee agenda because it is an important incentive for preservation in Florida! Phone calls are great, too!

We are also working to get the companion bill Senate Bill 1166 heard at its second stop in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.

As a reminder, Senate Bill 1166 and House Bill 1183 introduce the Main Street Act, which would establish a state tax credit to revitalize Florida Main Street communities, promote heritage tourism, generate well-paying jobs and revive vacant or underused historic structures. The proposed credit would cover up to 20 percent of eligible costs for renovating a certified historic structure and a 30 percent tax credit for eligible costs within the official boundaries on an active, certified Florida Main Street community. Both credits would be in addition to the federal historic tax credit. Learn more.

As a reminder, Senate Bill 1166 and House Bill 1183 introduce the Main Street Act, which would establish a state tax credit to revitalize Florida Main Street communities, promote heritage tourism, generate well-paying jobs and revive vacant or underused historic structures. The proposed credit would cover up to 20 percent of eligible costs for renovating a certified historic structure and a 30 percent tax credit for eligible costs within the official boundaries on an active, certified Florida Main Street community. Both credits would be in addition to the federal historic tax credit. Learn more.

What else can I do?

Please reach out to your local lawmakers, or any lawmakers you have a relationship with and encourage them to support the Main Street Historical Tourism and Revitalization Act (SB 1166, HB 1183). Specifically, ask them to join as co-sponsors for the bill. The more interest and support the legislation receives from other lawmakers, the more likely it is to pass.

Protecting Florida’s Coastal History

Lifeguard Stand near Delray Beach, Florida. Photo: Kelly Paras

Today the National Trust for Historic Preservation joined preservationists from around Florida in voicing its concerns towards the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act (Senate Bill 1526, House Bill 1647).

In support of a coalition of preservation partners in Florida, the National Trust is concerned about two bills pending in the Florida legislature, HB 1647 and SB 1526. If passed as currently written, these bills would remove protections for hundreds of historic structures in Florida’s coastal communities.

Read the full statement here.

Thanks to the efforts of historic preservation advocates, Senate Bill 1526, introduced by Senator Bryan Avila, was amended in the weeks prior to exempt contributing resources in National Register of Historic Places Districts.

Despite the amendment, concerns remain. For example, Miami Design Preservation League Executive Director Daniel Ciraldo indicated that most extant buildings don’t adhere to current construction standards and would thus be labeled non-conforming if the bill passes.

“There have been some big amendments that have been added and changes to this bill from last year so we can protect our historic places and our citizens,” said Florida Trust CEO & President Melissa Wyllie. “But I am speaking today because I am sharing the concerns of our stakeholders that without amendment this bill would allow unnecessary demolition of historic places.”

In the weeks ahead the Florida Trust will continue to work with the sponsors and stakeholders to ensure all voices are heard.

Seeking Full Funding of Florida’s Historic Preservation Grants

Florida’s Division of Historical Resources Historic Preservation Grant program is crucial in safeguarding our historic sites, fostering community resilience and bolstering local economies – and we are asking lawmakers to fully fund all projects on this year’s grant list: 36 projects with a price tag of nearly $9.6 million.

These grants are instrumental in supporting significant local, regional and statewide initiatives aimed at preserving historic and archaeological treasures, aiding major archaeological research endeavors and facilitating the development of noteworthy museum exhibits that illuminate Florida’s rich history.

Funds for the grants were included in the Senate budget, but not the House. Contact your lawmaker today!

The Florida Trust would like to thank The Coalition for Florida’s Historic Places for their continued support and advocacy for the fulfillment of the Special Category Grant List.

Christ Episcopal Church in Jefferson County, one of the projects listed in the Department of Historical Resources’ FY2025 Historic Preservation Special Category Grants. If funded, the church will be able to repair its brick foundation and façade that have deteriorated due to water intrusion.
  1. Please reach out to your local lawmakers, or any lawmakers you have a relationship with, and encourage them to fully fund the Special Category Grants for Fiscal Year 2025. Feel free to use our one-pager!
  2. Download our Florida Preservation Stories booklet to showcase projects in your area.

Preservation Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

Like every year, Preservation Action is organizing its Advocacy Week Conference in D.C., March 4-7, 2024.

As the State Coordinator for Florida, the Florida Trust would like to invite you to join us! You will have the opportunity to network with preservationists from across the country, meet with federal legislators and help us advocate for the crucial programs and policies that preserve our nation’s historic resources.

Let us know if you’d like to join the team!

Stay tuned for updates on our advocacy efforts as the bill progresses through the legislative process. Don’t forget to sign up for our advocacy newsletter to receive weekly briefings during Session!

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