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Preservation specialist Kate Nelson listened to State Historical Society trustee Robert Kolbe during discussion Friday on a tax break for a former bank building in Lead. 

Bob Mercer, Journal correspondent

PIERRE | Trustees for the State Historical Society unanimously gave tax breaks for fourteen properties Friday. But they split, six ayes to two nays, on approving the fifteenth, a former bank in Lead.

The reason? In renovating to office space, the current owner took out the vault from what had been First National Bank of the Black Hills.

“Interesting that the vault that held Homestake gold is no longer going to be visible,” trustee Robert Kolbe of Sioux Falls said.

Lead’s mayor and city administrator sent a letter of support to the state historic preservation office.

“We literally were on the fence on this one,” said Ted Spencer, the office’s director.

The 20 percent tax credits are valid for eight years on costs for rehabilitating historic buildings.

“The windows are enormous, and they’re staying in place,” Kate Nelson said. She is a state restoration and historic preservation specialist for western South Dakota. “We are struggling with whether removal of the vault is appropriate.”

Said Kolbe, a few minutes later: “Five hundred square feet would make a nice office.”

Other historic buildings that received tax breaks on improvements Friday:

• Harms Motor Co., downtown Sioux Falls (being renovated to a coffee shop).

• Sid’s Texaco, downtown Sioux Falls (formerly Sid’s Liquor, now a hardware store).

• W.G. Hill house, 520 E. Sixth Ave., Mitchell.

• Fairmont Creamer, 201 Main St., Rapid City (now office spaces).

• House at 33 Jackson St., Deadwood.

• House at 360 Williams St., Deadwood.

• Harlou Building, 407 N. River St., Hot Springs.

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• Hotel Alex Johnson, downtown Rapid City.

• House at 650 E. 21st St., Sioux Falls.

• Odd Fellows Hall, 100 W. 10th St., Dell Rapids (being converted to apartments).

• House at 3 Shine St., Deadwood.

• 2-4 E. Main St., Vermillion (being converted to offices).

• House at 1702 West Blvd., Rapid City.

• Old Post Office, downtown Yankton (being converted to restaurant and upstairs apartments).

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Managing editor

Chris Huber is the managing editor at the Rapid City Journal.