NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As many historic buildings continue to be torn down to make way for new construction, many in Nashville are worried that the city is losing its character. In September Metro Council approved a Historic Tax Abatement Program to help encourage the rehabilitation of endangered historic buildings.

The Metro Historic Zoning Commission is now accepting applications for the program and the deadline to apply is July 1st. The program aims to preserve historic commercial properties by providing a ten-year tax abatement for endangered properties.

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Metro Councilmember Jeff Syracuse spearheaded the effort and spent two years working on the program. “We are becoming a victim of our own success and in a way in the city, and that we’re losing culture, that we’re losing our history. We are quick to knock things down, just because they’re old—But as we’re seeing, we’re really losing some critical elements of our culture and our history.”

The tax abatement program is being managed by the Metro Historic Zoning Commission. “We are only the second local municipality in the state of Tennessee to do this, Rutherford County was the first. And so now Davidson County is the second,” Syracuse said.

“What this does is it helps property owners hopefully make a decision that, instead of just knocking your building down, if you save it, and put a historic overlay on it, what you reinvest in, that value can be abated for 10 years,” he added.

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According to Syracuse, there’s already a lot of interest in the program. “The really good news is that it appears that the folks on Second Avenue that were victims of the bombing, it looks like those properties are interested in utilizing this program.”

More information on the program and the application can be found here.