Brumberg building misses out on funding

Published 12:49 am Sunday, December 20, 2015

Next opportunity for tax credits in March

Ten days before Christmas, economic development leaders, hoping for a gift from Santa Claus, got a visit from the Grinch instead.

For the past four years they have worked to revitalize the Berg and Brumberg buildings on Second and Third streets. The Berg Building was turned into the Transit Center with an adjoining diner and offices upstairs. The Brumberg may not have such a chance.

“We did not get the tax credits,” said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

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Those credits are needed to start work on turning the Brumberg into market-rate apartments with rents between $700 and $800 a month.

The county’s application missed the mark by four points less than the 80 needed for the credits.

“We are trying to assess what to do here,” Kline said. “We have a new opportunity in March. There is another round.”

Points are given for possible job creation, time frame for completion and the number of tax credit projects that have been awarded to a community.

The project is a partnership between the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and the CAO, which bought the buildings from the Guy family in 2009 for approximately $225,000.

Part of the Berg Building was built in 1861 with an addition put on in the 1890s. The Brumberg was built at the turn of the century.

Historically, urban areas have a better chance of getting the credits, Kline said.

For this round, 34 projects got the state credits with only one in southeastern Ohio.

“It was converting a high school in the Wellston area into housing for seniors, where it would be partially subsidized,” Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the LEDC, said. “Our biggest concern in Ironton is you can get a disproportionate share of people without jobs. We have a major responsibility to help others.

“But you need a balance of those people who are working and can pay our income tax. It is imperative if you are going to move forward we have an appropriate balance of market rate and subsidized.”