Jake Dougherty, executive director of Wheeling Heritage, is acknowledged by National Trust for Historic Preservation for his economic revitalization work.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Jake Dougherty, the executive director of Wheeling Heritage, to its inaugural “40 Under 40: People Saving Places” list.

Dougherty, the only West Virginian featured on the list, was nominated for his work in economic revitalization with Wheeling Heritage and the West Virginia Abandoned Properties Coalition. Through the coalition, he led a grassroots advocacy effort to increase the West Virginia State Historic Tax Credit.

Last fall, the state Legislature voted to increase the tax credit from 10 percent to 25 percent. That means, when combined with federal credits, developers can now deduct 45 percent of expenses related to renovating a historic building—a huge incentive for the continued preservation of the state’s historic structures.

Renee Kuhlman, director of Policy Outreach at the National Trust, says Dougherty’s work has created a financial model that other states can use to gauge the effectiveness of their own historic tax credits. “Jake worked diligently to ensure West Virginia’s incentives for preservation are some of the best in the country,” she says in a news release. She also praised Dougherty’s work with West Virginia Congressman David McKinley to keep the federal historic tax credit on the books.

For his part, Dougherty credits his hometown. “Wheeling is fortunate to have a community that supports and cultivates young leaders who are passionate about the success of our city and state,” he says.

Dougherty is a Wheeling native and graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. He previously was director of Reinvent Wheeling. In addition to his work with Wheeling Heritage and West Virginia Abandoned Properties Coalition, he serves on the boards of the Augusta Levy Learning Center, Generation WV, the Regional Economic Development Partnership, and the Wheeling–Ohio County Convention & Visitors Bureau. He is also a member of the Rose Urban Green Fund Community Development Entity advisory board.

For more information on Wheeling Heritage, visit wheelingheritage.org. To see the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s entire “40 Under 40” list, visit savingplaces.org/40-under-40-people.

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Zack Harold
Written by Zack Harold
Zack Harold is a southern West Virginia native. He covered education, health, and government at the Charleston Daily Mail before becoming the newspaper’s features editor. He joined New South Media in 2015, became managing editor of WV Living in January 2016, and took over as managing editor of Wonderful West Virginia in July 2016.