OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Benson business district is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places and with that title comes a list of funding opportunities.
"We've always known Benson’s a special place and historic in nature, but now it's official," said Omaha city councilman Pete Festersen.
He added that it’s about time downtown Benson was put on the National Register of Historic Places.
"With that federal designation, it's now eligible for federal and state tax credits for renovation projects," said Festersen.
Benson has plenty of historic structures that Festersen said need to be maintained. One of which is already under rehabilitation: the Benson Theater.
David Levy, a partner at Baird Holm and one who helped create the Nebraska state historic tax credit legislation, said if Benson business owners are interested in project funding, they need to apply before they start construction.
"The work done on the building has to either meet federal or local standards for historical appropriateness in the renovation,” said Levy.
Levy added that the first step is to talk with History Nebraska and an architect.
"The tax credit is a credit of 20%, equal to 20% of the cost of the rehabilitation up to 1 million dollars per project," said Levy.
Levy and Festersen said this historic label offers opportunities for business owners, especially now that the pandemic has left many dipping into savings.
"I think with the pandemic people are probably going to want to stay closer to home and I think historic restoration projects and lots of other things that are a little more sustainable and a little more comfortable are going to be more popular,” said Levy.
“This is one of the coolest places to be in the city right now, both for young professionals and those interested in restaurants and entertainment and music and now also theaters. We have new apartments being built as we speak. A new event space is almost complete. Benson continues to be on the move," said Festersen.
Festersen added that all of downtown Benson from 58th to 63rd St, along with a portion of Military St, falls under the historic designation.