< Back to S. 3689 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)

Text of the National Historic Country Store Preservation and Revitalization Act of 2006

This bill was introduced on July 19, 2006, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jul 19, 2006 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3689

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 19, 2006

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To establish a national historic country store preservation and revitalization program.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Historic Country Store Preservation and Revitalization Act of 2006.

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

historic country stores are lasting icons of rural tradition in the United States;

(2)

historic country stores are valuable contributors to the civic and economic vitality of their local communities;

(3)

historic country stores demonstrate innovative approaches to historic preservation and small business practices;

(4)

historic country stores are threatened by larger competitors and the costs associated with maintaining older structures; and

(5)

the United States should—

(A)

collect and disseminate information concerning the number, condition, and variety of historic country stores;

(B)

develop opportunities for cooperation among proprietors of historic country stores; and

(C)

promote the long-term economic viability of historic country stores through the provision of financial assistance to historic country stores.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Country store

(A)

In general

The term country store means a structure independently owned and formerly or currently operated as a business that—

(i)

sells or sold grocery items and other small retail goods; and

(ii)

is located in—

(I)

an economically distressed area; or

(II)

a nonmetropolitan area, as defined by the Secretary.

(B)

Inclusion

The term country store includes a cooperative.

(2)

Economically distressed area

The term economically distressed area means an area that meets 1 or more of the criteria described in section 301(a) of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3161(a)).

(3)

Eligible applicant

The term eligible applicant means—

(A)

a State department of commerce or economic development;

(B)

a national or State nonprofit organization that—

(i)

is described in section 501(c)(3), and exempt from Federal tax under section 501(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

(ii)
(I)

has experience or expertise, as determined by the Secretary, in the identification, evaluation, rehabilitation, or preservation of historic country stores; or

(II)

is undertaking economic and community development activities;

(C)

a national or State nonprofit trade organization that—

(i)

is described in section 501(c)(3), and exempt from Federal tax under section 501(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

(ii)

acts as a cooperative to promote and enhance country stores; and

(D)

a State historic preservation office.

(4)

Fund

The term Fund means the Historic Country Store Revolving Loan Fund established under section 5(a).

(5)

Historic country store

The term historic country store means a country store that—

(A)

has operated at the same location for at least 50 years; and

(B)

retains sufficient integrity of design, materials, and construction to clearly identify the structure as a country store.

(6)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Economic Development.

4.

Historic country store preservation and revitalization program

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary shall establish a historic country store preservation and revitalization program—

(1)

to collect and disseminate information on historic country stores;

(2)

to promote State and regional partnerships among proprietors of historic country stores; and

(3)

to sponsor and conduct research on—

(A)

the economic impact of historic country stores in rural areas, including the impact on unemployment rates and community vitality;

(B)

best practices to—

(i)

improve the profitability of historic country stores; and

(ii)

protect historic country stores from foreclosure or seizure; and

(C)

best practices for developing cooperative organizations that address the economic and historic preservation needs of—

(i)

historic country stores; and

(ii)

the communities served by the historic country stores.

(b)

Grants

(1)

In general

The Secretary may make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, eligible applicants to carry out an eligible project under paragraph (2).

(2)

Eligible projects

A grant under this subsection may be made to an eligible applicant for a project—

(A)
(i)

to rehabilitate or repair a historic country store; and

(ii)

to enhance the economic benefit of the historic country store to the communities served by the historic country store;

(B)

to identify, document, and conduct research on historic country stores; and

(C)

to develop and evaluate appropriate techniques or best practices for protecting historic country stores.

(3)

Requirements

An eligible applicant that receives a grant for an eligible project under paragraph (1) shall comply with all applicable requirements for historic preservation projects under Federal, State, and local law.

(4)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report that—

(A)

identifies the number of grants made under subsection (b);

(B)

describes the type of grants made under subsection (b); and

(C)

includes any other information that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(c)

Country Store Alliance Pilot Project

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall carry out a pilot project in the State of Vermont under which the Secretary shall conduct demonstration activities to preserve historic country stores and the communities served by the historic country stores, including—

(A)

the collection and dissemination of information on historic country stores in the State;

(B)

the development of collaborative country store marketing and purchasing techniques; and

(C)

the development of best practices for historic country store proprietors and communities facing transitions involved in the sale or closure of a historic country store.

(2)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report that—

(A)

describes the results of the pilot project; and

(B)

includes any recommended changes of the Secretary to the program established under subsection (a), based on the results of the pilot project.

5.

Historic Country Store Revolving Loan Fund

(a)

Establishment

Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall establish in the Treasury of the United States a revolving fund, to be known as the Historic Country Store Revolving Loan Fund, consisting of—

(1)

such amounts as are appropriated to the Fund under subsection (b);

(2)

1/3 of the amounts appropriated under section 8(a); and

(3)

any interest earned on investment of amounts in the Fund under subsection (d).

(b)

Transfers to Fund

There are appropriated to the Fund amounts equivalent to—

(1)

the amounts repaid on loans under section 6; and

(2)

the amounts of the proceeds from the sales of notes, bonds, obligations, liens, mortgages and property delivered or assigned to the Secretary pursuant to loans made under section 6.

(c)

Expenditures From Fund

(1)

In general

Subject to paragraph (2), on request by the Secretary, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer from the Fund to the Secretary such amounts as the Secretary determines are necessary to provide loans under section 6.

(2)

Administrative expenses

An amount not exceeding 10 percent of the amounts in the Fund shall be available for each fiscal year to pay the administrative expenses necessary to carry out this Act.

(d)

Investment of Amounts

(1)

In general

The Secretary of the Treasury shall invest such portion of the Fund as is not, in the judgment of the Secretary of the Treasury, required to meet current withdrawals.

(2)

Interest-bearing obligations

Investments may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States.

(3)

Acquisition of obligations

For the purpose of investments under paragraph (1), obligations may be acquired—

(A)

on original issue at the issue price; or

(B)

by purchase of outstanding obligations at the market price.

(4)

Sale of obligations

Any obligation acquired by the Fund may be sold by the Secretary of the Treasury at the market price.

(5)

Credits to fund

The interest on, and the proceeds from the sale or redemption of, any obligations held in the Fund shall be credited to and form a part of the Fund.

(e)

Transfers of Amounts

(1)

In general

The amounts required to be transferred to the Fund under this section shall be transferred at least monthly from the general fund of the Treasury to the Fund on the basis of estimates made by the Secretary of the Treasury.

(2)

Adjustments

Proper adjustment shall be made in amounts subsequently transferred to the extent prior estimates were in excess of or less than the amounts required to be transferred.

6.

Loans for historic country store rehabilitation or repair projects

(a)

In General

Using amounts in the Fund, the Secretary may make direct loans to eligible applicants for projects—

(1)

to purchase, rehabilitate, or repair historic country stores; or

(2)

to establish microloan funds to make short-term, fixed-interest rate loans to proprietors of historic country stores.

(b)

Applications

(1)

In general

To be eligible for a loan under this section, an eligible applicant shall submit to the Secretary a complete application for a loan that addresses the criteria described in paragraph (2).

(2)

Considerations for approval or disapproval

In determining whether to approve or disapprove an application for a loan submitted under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider—

(A)

the demonstrated need for the purchase, construction, reconstruction, or renovation of the historic country store based on the condition of the historic country store;

(B)

the age of the historic country store;

(C)

the extent to which the project to purchase, rehabilitate, or repair the historic country store includes collaboration among historic country store proprietors and other eligible applicants; and

(D)

any other criteria that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(c)

Requirements

An eligible applicant that receives a loan for a project under this section shall comply with all applicable standards for historic preservation projects under Federal, State, and local law.

(d)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date on which the Fund is established under subsection (a), and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report that—

(1)

identifies—

(A)

the number of loans provided under this section;

(B)

the repayment rate of the loans; and

(C)

the default rate of the loans; and

(2)

includes any other information that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

7.

Performance report

Any eligible applicant that receives financial assistance under this Act shall, for each fiscal year for which the eligible applicant receives the financial assistance, submit to the Secretary a performance report that—

(1)

describes—

(A)

the allocation of the amount of financial assistance received under this Act;

(B)

the economic benefit of the financial assistance, including a description of—

(i)

the number of jobs retained or created; and

(ii)

the tax revenues generated; and

(2)

addresses any other reporting requirements established by the Secretary.

8.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In General

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act, $50,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2006 through 2011, to remain available until expended.

(b)

Country Store Alliance Pilot Project

Of the amount made available under subsection (a), not less than $250,000 shall be made available to carry out section 4(c).