In its ongoing efforts to improve the appearance of three of the territory’s historic districts, the Economic Zone Commission is looking for applicants for its tax-abatement program. Those applicants must agree to fix up their buildings or build news ones on their property.
"The application drive is trying to promote the program and get more people involved," said Enterprise Zone Facilitator Kizzy Moscoso.
Moscoso and other staff members kicked off the application drive Monday. They plan to personally visit areas with possible applicants.
The push is in honor of the 10th anniversary of the program, which was established in 1999 under the umbrella of the V.I. Economic Development Authority to revitalize historic neighborhoods that have fallen into disrepair.
The Economic Zone program covers sections of Christiansted and Frederiksted on St. Croix and parts of Savan on St. Thomas. While most people are more familiar with the Savan spelling of the St. Thomas area, Moscoso said the commission uses the alternative spelling of Savanne.
"We spell it the old way," she said.
In Christiansted, the program covers most of the downtown area from Richmond to Mount Welcome. In Frederiksted, it also covers the downtown area from Fisher Street to the ballpark. In Savan, it runs from Rothschild Francis Square to Levkoj Strade. The Enterprise Zone Commission has maps available on its website that indicate the boundaries.
These areas are considered economically distressed, Moscoso said.
The program gives participants who construct a new building or rehabilitate an old one a 25-percent credit on either their gross-receipts tax or income tax, according to Moscoso. If they are buying machinery or equipment, they get a 10-percent credit on either their income tax or gross-receipts tax.
To quality, applicants must invest at least $10,000 in the business, be a V.I. resident, be the actual investor in the property, employ at least two V.I. residents in the business and have a valid business license.
"And they have to comply with all of the territory’s laws," Moscoso said.
The Enterprise Zone Commission is also about to embark on a Scrape, Paint and Rejuvenate program to spruce up Frederiksted and Savan. The commission has Community Development Block Grant funding to spend on the project, Moscoso said. The commission plans to spend $128,000 in Frederiksted and $202,699 in Savan.
The project is currently out for bid, Moscoso said.
For more information, call the Enterprise Zone Commission at 714-8104 on St. Thomas or 773-6499 on St. Croix. Visit the website at http://www.usvieda.org/rehabilitation.php.