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posted: 4/7/2017 1:00 AM

What does it mean to land on endangered list?

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So, what does it mean to make Landmarks Illinois' Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list?

The designation doesn't afford any official protection or power. But it does highlight the need for financial incentives and private-public partnerships to find creative ways to re-use the sites, according to Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of the advocacy group.

"We feel the most endangered list is a vital tool for us to raise awareness," she said. "It's a very important part of the conversation of what's significant and valuable to us."

The list was launched in 1995 to call attention to threatened historic sites that need stewardship, creative plans for re-use and/or changes in public policy.

During that time, a third of all the sites included on the list have been saved and less than a quarter demolished, according to the organization. The remainder are in different stages of either continuing to be threatened or being rehabbed.

McDonald estimated about three-quarters of about 200 properties have been saved or are in the process.

Statewide, the federal historic tax credit has been a successful tool and vital incentive for private investment to re-use or rehab historic buildings, according to Landmarks Illinois.

But it also is on the 2017 endangered list because it has been identified for removal in proposed tax reform legislation, according to McDonald.

"It has a very important positive return on investment," she said. Such projects also stimulate investment in adjoining properties, she added.

McDonald said the federal tax credit from 2002 to 2015 cost $23.1 billion but led to investments valued at $28.1 billion throughout the U.S.

During that time, Illinois realized $3 billion of that $5 billion return on investment involving 253 development projects and creating 40,000 jobs, McDonald said.


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