Cambridge seeks Sustainable Community status

CAMBRIDGE. The City of Cambridge will begin preparing an application to submit to the Maryland Department of Planning to become a Sustainable Community.

Cambridge City Planner Anne Roane said the state has combined the Community Legacy Program and the National BusinessWorks program into the Sustainable Communities program to simplify the framework for those two programs.

Cambridge Economic Development Director Natalie Chabot said the deadline to apply to become a Sustainable Community is in January. Since the application is so extensive, she said, a lot of time will need to be devoted to the application, which is why the approval of the council to move forward with the application was needed so early.

Chabot said within the application, the city needs to demonstrate its partnership and investment «both on the private sector part as well as the public sector part.»

The city previously was approved for a Community Legacy Grant through 2012-2013, said Chabot, and if the city does not apply to re-designate itself as a Sustainable Community, the city will not be eligible for the grants the following year.

According to the MDP website, the principles of Sustainable Communities include providing more transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, promoting equitable and affordable housing, enhancing economic competitiveness, supporting existing communities through federal funding, coordinating and leveraging policies and investment and valuing communities and neighborhoods by enhancing unique characteristics of all communities.

Chabot said Sustainable Communities «absorbed» the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and created the Sustainable Communities Tax Credits.

According to the MDP website, the Sustainable Communities Act of 2010 strengthens reinvestment and revitalization in the state’s older communities by reinventing the existing Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and extending the life of the credit through 2014.

The Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program was designed to encourage the redevelopment of historic buildings and revitalization of older communities by offering project sponsors tax credits equal to 20 percent of eligible rehabilitation costs.

According to the MDP website, the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit will help create 740 construction jobs in projects that will revitalize communities and promote green building practices around the state. Recently, 10 projects were awarded $11 million in tax credits to help leverage construction projects.

Chabot said the city will be able to apply for the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit, something that was unavailable to the city before.

Chabot said another benefit of becoming a Sustainable Community is if a city becomes a «Sustainable Community through the University of Maryland» the city will receive additional points whenever applying for grants.

Roane said she is confident the city will receive a Sustainable Communities designation based on the city’s «history with the state» and the funding from the state the city has received in the past.

Source / Fuente:

Author / Autor:  Katie Fitzpatrick

Date / Fecha: 16/09/11

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