A study from the University of Minnesota estimates 1,800 construction jobs will be created over the next few years thanks to a new state tax credit.
The credit helps finance the rehabilitation of historic buildings in the state. It became law last year and as of June 30, 14 projects have qualified for support.
One of them is the old Minneapolis North Branch Library, which is currently vacant and unheated. Dave Semerad, the CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, said the tax credit is good news for the construction industry and for the community.
"We're taking this old gem of a building, and we're transforming it for this community," Semerad said. "And, in the process, we're putting people to work."
Minnesota Historical Society Director Steve Elliott said the tax credit is good economic policy.
"While there are no silver bullets that will solve our economic challenges, there are a number of solutions that will help make things better," Elliott said. "The historic tax credit is one of those things."
The tax credit program will cost the state an estimated $10 million to $12 million a year. Supporters say rehabilitating historic properties is a good way to create jobs because it's labor-intensive. The tax credit will expire in the year 2015 if the Legislature doesn't re-authorize it.