On August 28, 2020, the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) announced $4.8 million in Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants to eight recipients in eight states to support the restoration and reuse of historic buildings in order to help revitalize the rural communities in which they are located.
This year marks the second year of funding for the program and the first since the program was renamed in honor of the late Paul Bruhn, the former executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont. State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, Certified Local Governments, and nonprofits were eligible to apply for funding to support preservation projects in their jurisdictions.
“These grants help communities preserve their heritage and foster economic development by revitalizing historic sites and structures, including architectural and engineering services,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the NPS Director.
Examples of projects funded include:
- $750,000 awarded to the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for The Third Places Matter Fund. Third Places are locations where citizens exchange ideas, build relationships, and create a shared feeling of belonging in a community. The grants will stimulate economic investment in rural areas by creating new and enhancing existing venues where people gather, while ensuring continued use and long-term survival of rural historic resources.
- $750,000 awarded to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. The NY State Historic Preservation Office and Landmark Society of Western New York will partner to promote historic revitalization in small rural communities in the Genesee Valley region by providing subgrants that support the rehabilitation of historic commercial, industrial, and former school buildings.
- $556,327 awarded to the Ohio History Connection for Main Street organizations in communities to complete rehabilitation work on historic buildings that prioritize economic impact, use of commercial first floor space and upper floor residential space, and encourage reactivation of vacant spaces.
- $355,488 awarded to the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. With a focus on improving local infrastructure, the State of Wyoming’s subgrant program will fund brick and mortar projects that maintain and/or revitalize the historic integrity and character of rural communities while expanding local economic development opportunities.
Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.
The other awardees are:
- Iowa’s Rural Heritage Revitalization Project (State Historical Society of Iowa): $600,000
- Kansas Rural Preservation Grants (Kansas State Historical Society / State Historic Preservation Office): $500,000
- Downtown Salisbury / Historic Revitalization Incentive Grants (City of Salisbury, North Carolina): $543,185
- Bruhn Village Revitalization Grant Program of Vermont (Preservation Trust of Vermont): $745,000
“With Bell Tower Green coming online in the next year, Downtown is on the verge of something really exciting,” said Salisbury City Manager W. Lane Bailey. “Our planning department put a lot of work into this important grant application. I am thrilled that the National Park Service recognizes the potential that we have in restoring and rehabilitating buildings in our historic downtown.”
Applications for an additional $7.5 million in funding will be available in the Fall of 2020.
Photo shows downtown Salisbury, North Carolina, which has been awarded a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant to fund a competitive grant program for structural and façade rehabilitation of commercial properties in the Salisbury Historic District. Photo courtesy of Visit Rowan County.