While reading the Tuesday Herald Sun paper, I came across an article titled “Tax Credits Denied for Whitted School Project.” Within this article it discussed how a now defunct school called Whitted Junior High School was scheduled to be redeveloped into low income housing units. Initially, I assumed the article wouldn’t be that significant until I read rurther about the positive future impact it could have within the community. But like everything else in government, this project is facing a lot of buraucracy and red tape. Here is the issue, the Housing Finance Agency has denied the opportunity for the Atlanta based developer Integral Group and Durham Public Schools tax credit to fund the project. I paused for a moment, because I thought how often do you hear of big time corporations and pro sports teams that receive tax credits and municipal bonds for their facilities or stadiums? Quite often. So why isn’t this project being given the same consideration?
Let’s look at the numbers, according to Ray Granberg of the Herald Sun the project is projected to cost approximately $21.1 million. The Integral Group requested around $710,000 in tax credits. If the project is approved it could contribute around $7.2 million, which is significant to the local tax base. So why not approve the project right? Well that depends on local government priorities. From my perspective, there should be some form of effort on the part of government officials to alleviate red tape so that important projects like this could be approved.
This project by all outward appearances is a good step forward to utilizing blighted spaced and transforming them into useful spaces.