New grant designed to save neglected historic buildings in W.Va.

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New grant designed to save neglected historic buildings in W.Va.
The grant is designed to save historic buildings in rural communities from demolition by neglect. (Photo: Milivoj Kuhar)

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is accepting applications for its new Saving Historic Places Grant, designed to save certified historic buildings in rural West Virginia communities from "demolition by neglect."

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Funding will be provided for building emergencies, building stabilization, and pre-development costs, according to Danielle Parker, executive director for the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation in the Mountain State.

“The alliance created the Saving Historic Places Grant Program in 2019 to provide funding to help communities save the places that matter most to them,” Parker said.

Earlier in 2021, however, the alliance received a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant from the National Park Service to expand the program and has approximately $485,000 to award in grants for this application period.

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Completed grant applications are due March 18, 2022, Parker said.

To qualify for the grant, buildings must either be individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places or listed as contributing buildings in a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Eligible applicants for this program include just about everyone from business owners to nonprofit organizations and municipalities,” she said.

Demolition by neglect refers to the practice of allowing buildings to deteriorate to the point that demolition becomes necessary or restoration becomes unreasonable. The practice has been used by property owners as a means of sidestepping laws by providing justification for the demolition of historical buildings.

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In order to prevent demolition by neglect, many U.S. cities have adopted ordinances requiring property owners to properly maintain historical buildings.

Eligible costs should focus on stabilizing the building to prevent further degradation and can include but are not limited to roof replacement, masonry repointing, foundation treatment, and window rehabilitation.

The objective of the Bruhn program is to support the rehabilitation of historic properties at the national, state, and local level of significance in order to rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development in rural communities with a population of less than 50,000 through subgrants that come from states, tribes, certified local governments, and non-profits able to support a competitive subgrant program.

This program will fund preservation projects for historic sites to include physical preservation and architectural and engineering services that do not exceed 20 percent of the grant award.

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To review the full guidelines for the Saving Historic Places Grant and to download an application form, visit PAWV.org.

Call 304-345-6005 if you have trouble accessing this information on the website.

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