Our team was retained by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and Preservation Pennsylvania to show the economic benefits of investment in historic preservation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
We found that historic preservation efforts have significant positive economic impacts, including an increase in property values, downtown revitalization, tourism activity, job creation, and tax revenue generation. The Commonwealth can benefit from historic preservation by leveraging resources through both the federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credit programs, by increasing property values and thus tax bases through the designation of historic districts, and by promoting heritage tourism of historic assets. In addition to the stimulative effects historic preservation has on local economies, there are also educational, aesthetic, environmental, and revitalization and stabilization benefits.
In estimating economic impact, Econsult utilized industry standard input-output methodologies and data to project the effect of investments in historic preservation, in terms of indirect and induced activity that results from such direct investments. The potential tax credit benefits the state could receive were measured by looking at the potential for Pennsylvania to receive federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit funds and the statewide funds available. These funds were then entered into the model to generate the potential economic benefits from historic preservation. Additional composition and scale of this economic impact can be expressed in the form of expenditures in the form of tourism, employment, and earnings. The potential tax revenues from designated historic districts generated can also be estimated.
The study was designed to show that historic preservation is a possible strategy for economic growth in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Using the findings, we recommended that the Commonwealth support historic preservation in order to continue achieving these significant economic impacts.