With a fund-raising campaign under way as part of a state tax credit effort for donors, a downtown revitalization organization is preparing to acquire three pieces of Grand Avenue property.
Downtown Houston Inc. earlier this year was approved for participation in the Neighborhood Assistance Program, which allows eligible donors a tax credit of 70 cents for each dollar donated. The contribution also is deductible on federal returns. It allows tax dollars to remain at home, and some contributors can actually earn a few cents on the dollar.
Funds will be used to restore the historic Melba Theatre, which was constructed in 1938. Buildings on each side of the Melba also are included in the transaction as part of the overall design.
At a meeting this week of Downtown Houston Inc. it was reported that the state had OK’d purchase of the property and a Rolla firm had started a required assessment of the structures this week. An effort is under way to publicize the availability of the tax credits — which are 70 percent, which is rare. The group said it had received calls from outside the area from accounting firms acquiring if the tax credits are still available because of their desirability and the nature of the community project. The deadline to make a contribution for the 2014 tax year is Dec. 31, but donors are encouraged to begin the process early. Information is available at melbaperformingartscenter.com, facebook.com/downtownhoustoninc or by email at email@example.com. Informational material also is available at Houston City Hall and Houston Herald.
In other matters, members:
—Received an update on a gun raffle the organization is holding. Tickets are available from members, several businesses, including the Houston Herald, Double RR Pawn and Shelter Insurance in downtown Houston. Funds will be used to revamp a building north of the Lone Star Plaza that will be an annex that will include a commercial kitchen to teach classes and available for rental. Rural Development funds have already received. Melba T-shirts are available at Houston City Hall, as well as information on the availability of purchasing a theatre seat.
—Heard an update on two recognition events recently conducted by Rural Development, which included new shades at the Lone Star Plaza canopy and a “high tunnel,” a sophisticated greenhouse, that will extend the county garden’s growing season at the Texas County Justice Center. Inmates tend to the produce, which is used in the jail.
—Learned that a revamp of the group’s Facebook page is complete. Residents are encouraged to follow activities by “liking” Facebook.com/downtownhoustoninc.