Historic Enfield House Gets Preservation Help

 Built in 1823, the Greeley House is  one of the oldest houses in Enfield's National Register Historic District and the only survivor of the three houses once owned by the Shakers, who housed their mill manager there. Later it became the Town Clerk's office and telephone exchange. The Enfield Village Association  acquired the house in forclosure to save it from almost certain destruction and now seeks public support to renovate it to contain the EVA office and a residential rental.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Built in 1823, the Greeley House is one of the oldest houses in Enfield's National Register Historic District and the only survivor of the three houses once owned by the Shakers, who housed their mill manager there. Later it became the Town Clerk's office and telephone exchange. The Enfield Village Association acquired the house in forclosure to save it from almost certain destruction and now seeks public support to renovate it to contain the EVA office and a residential rental. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Enfield — The nonprofit group that owns a building dating to the early 19th century in Enfield Village has been boosted in its efforts to restore the historic home, known as the Greeley House.

The Enfield Village Association qualified to distribute tax credits that could net the association up to $150,000 to renovate the small red building, depending on how successful officials are in selling the credits to businesses who make donations to the project, said Douglas Smith, a member of the village association and chairman of the Greeley House renovation committee.

The credits, which are allocated by the state and distributed by the autonomous New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, can be claimed on taxes filed for 2014 and 2015.

Several senior centers in Grafton County will also benefit from the tax credit program.

“It’s an incentive for (businesses) to put their tax money to work in the communities that they serve, and for us it’s a boon because we get the full amount of the contribution toward our project,” Smith said. “This way they see that the state likes our project, and they can get a big bang for a small buck.”

Participating businesses who make a contribution to the Greeley House project will receive a tax credit on their state tax return for 75 percent of the contribution.

For example, if a corporation donated $10,000 to the project, it could take a $7,500 direct credit against its state tax liability, carrying it forward for up to five years, Smith said.

Businesses can also claim those donations on their federal returns, which means that some business have estimated they end up paying about 11 cents on the dollar when using the credits, Smith said.

The Enfield Village Association bought the Greeley House on the corner of Main Street and Shaker Hill Road for $40,000 after it went into foreclosure in 2012. Built in 1823, the former home of the Shakers’ gristmill manager had recently fallen into disrepair, and the association launched a fundraising project for renovations expected to total $325,000, including converting part of the house into apartments.

A capital campaign has raised about $75,000 so far, Smith said.

Living and Work Space

Part of the stipulations to use the money from the Community Development Finance Authority include that at least one apartment must be made into affordable housing, Smith said.

The association also moved its offices into the front of the building at the beginning of June, he said.

“We’re already noticing an increase in the number of visitors to our offices because we’re on a prominent ground floor location, and that’s very good,” Smith said.

“The office space itself is very attractive. The rest of the house is just a big empty shell, it’s terrible,” he added, laughing, “but I think that will help our campaign.”

He said the house will be open to the public during Enfield’s Old Home Days on July 26. In addition to the general public, he said the building’s current state will interest “old house buff,” as well.

“The walls are supported by vertical planks, and now that we’ve done so much demolition, the planks are visible, so it’s a good time to get in there and see the basic structure, which of course when you finish the building all of its covered up,” he said.

Nearly $6 million in tax credits were awarded to 14 organizations, the CDFA announced during a press conference in Concord on Thursday. The tax credits allow for more than $25.6 million in leverage for these projects, according to a news release from the authority.

The awards included about $518,600 in tax credits to the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council to upgrade six senior centers in Lebanon, Canaan, North Haverhill, Littleton and Plymouth, which are in various states of disrepair, according to the release.

“They are suffering from deferred maintenance,” said Roberta Berner, executive director of the Lebanon-based council. “ With the diminishment of federal and state funding, we have been putting the money into programs instead of buildings.”

Maggie Cassidy can be reached at mcassidy@vnews.com or 603-727-3220.