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Lippitt Mill renovations get boost from R.I.

September 9, 2013

One of the oldest wooden mills in America, Lippitt Mill sits at the intersection of Main and Wakefield Streets in the West Warwick village that bears its name. File Photo.

WEST WARWICK— With the new historic tax credits program reinstated, Lippitt Mill will now be able to under renovations within the next year.

Owner John Ponte explained that two weeks ago, his property manager attended a lottery drawing at the Statehouse regarding the historic tax credits program.

The Lippitt Mill was one of 34 chosen to receive tax credits for rehabilitation.

Since 2011, when the mill suffered damage from a flood, Ponte and members of local historical societies have been working to brain-storm ways to renovate the mill and save it from demolition.

“When the flood happened the insurance company didn’t pay the claim and I had to hold onto the property so when the tax credits came around, I started looking into it,” he said.

He explained that he’s been working diligently alongside the Western Rhode Island Civic and Historical Society, the Pawtuxet Valley Historical Society and town officials to get the project up and running.

“They’ve been extremely helpful and supportive and they understood the history of the mill,” he added. “I knew the historical society wanted to either buy or keep the property but unfortunately, the economy is tough and the money wasn’t there.”

Now that the historic tax credit program is back, Ponte said he decided to keep the mill himself and turn it into either elderly or low-income housing.

“With rent so high and people’s incomes are not going up I’d like to make it a project for the elderly because you don’t want to build something that would put a burden on the town; I’m working with them to put something there they feel the town needs,” he explained.

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