The Harlow Building, located at 407 N. River Street in Hot Springs, is continuing its historic preservation. In a press release the South Dakota Historical Society announced that its board of trustees approved a property tax moratorium for the Harlou Building.
The program prevents state property tax from rising for eight years. This eases the tax burden on property owners while undergoing costly renovations. At the end of the moratorium, buildings are reassessed and are subject to state property tax based on the new valuation.
According to Jay D. Vogt, director of the State Historical Society, “The property tax moratorium is an incentive for owners of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places to maintain and rehabilitate their homes and businesses.”
The State Historical Society uses the Secretary of the Interior's standards for rehabilitation. Some standards include: maintaining the buildings original use or new utilization that requires minimal change to the building, avoiding changes that remove from the historical character of the building and repairing historic features, among others.
In addition to the standards set by the Secretary of the Interior, the South Dakota State Historical Society also has several of their own qualifying standards: the building in question must be listed on the State or National Register of Historical Places, building owners must maintain and protect building historic features, the public must be granted viewing privileges of the project for at least 12 hours a year and the building must be sufficiently insured.
The Harlou Building was constructed in 1893. It was named using the first three letter its builders' last names, Dr. Hargens and S. Loudenback.
Last yea the building received both the Hot Springs Facade Grant and the Deadwood Fund Grant. The Hot Springs grant was used to partially fund a new awning.
The Deadwood grant was used to repair the building's aging second-story windows and to restore the historic storefront window.
Building owner, Bonnie Wagner, also made improvements to the building's interior, removing a previously installed drop-down ceiling to expose the original tin ceiling tiles. After removing the ceiling, Wagner cleaned and painted the tiles and duct work with a copper-colored metallic paint.
Wagner mentioned future projects could include improving the tuckpointing and cleaning the stones on the building's sandstone exterior, repairing the concrete sides of the building, replacing drafty doors as well as painting the building's exterior staircase. Ultimately, she would also like to install a gallery space behind her showroom.
According to the State Historical Society, the Harlou Building originally housed the Southern Hills Bank of Buffalo Gap and the Masons, and was later used by the Fall River Bakery.
The State Historical Society approved 14 other properties in five different counties for a tax moratorium. The Harlou Building was the only building in Fall River County approved for the program this year.
For more information on how to qualify for the state historic preservation property tax moratorium, contact the State Historic Preservation Office at the Cultural Heritage Center, 900 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501-2217, call (605) 773-3458 or visit their website.
Fall River County has a similar tax incentive for improving agricultural and commercial buildings. These are five year property tax freezes on building restorations or improvements. Agricultural buildings must undergo improvements adding at least $10,000 to the buildings value. Commercial buildings must have improvements of at least $30,000. For more information on this program, visit the Fall River County Director of Equalization's page on the Fall River County website.