$750,000 allocated for historic preservation projects in state’s Southwest region

The Commonwealth has been awarded $750,000 in grant funds through the 2022 NPS Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program (PBHRGP) to support the rehabilitation of historic buildings and sites in the state’s southwestern region. In alignment with its overarching mission to ensure that Virginia’s historic places are valued and used as assets for education, tourism, environmental sustainability, and economic vitality, DHR will administer the award by establishing a subgrant program to fund approximately three preservation projects in Appalachian Virginia. Public entities and nonprofit organizations based in Southwest Virginia that steward historic places in this 25-county region for the public good will be eligible to apply for funds from the subgrant program.

“For too long, DHR has sought ways to increase our support to the southwestern part of Virginia. We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to partner with communities on the preservation of their high-priority preservation projects,” said Julie V. Langan, DHR director and Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Officer.

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Efforts to promote local music, arts, and outdoor experiences have expanded heritage tourism in Southwest Virginia, leading to increased tax revenues and job creation. While significant funds have been dedicated to local culture, music, and recreation, less state and federal investment has been aimed at Southwest Virginia’s historic resources.

Guided by strategic planning efforts, DHR seeks grants to provide funding to address threatened and endangered historic places and to encourage the use of historic places as assets in support of Virginia’s tourism industry. This grant opportunity will give Southwest Virginia access to rare federal dollars for bricks-and-mortar preservation projects and enable DHR to help address historic preservation needs of the region.

“The preservation of key historic landmarks will contribute to Southwest Virginia’s sense of place and compliment efforts to celebrate regional attributes, such as food, music and art, which collectively support communities and attract visitors,” Langan said.

The historic rehabilitation projects funded through DHR’s PBHRGP subgrant program will seek to build upon and be sustained by continued public efforts to expand heritage tourism, which, in turn, drives Southwest Virginia’s economic revitalization. As part of the subgrant program, DHR will use a portion of the total PBHRGP grant award to hire a locally based project manager to guide subgrant recipients on their projects. Select DHR staff will also provide technical assistance to subgrant recipients. Matching funds will not be required but may be used as a competitive factor in the subgrant selection process. Projects funded through the subgrant program are expected to be completed within a three-year timeframe, with the 2022 PBHRGP program set to close in December 2026.

All historic properties funded through the subgrant program must be listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR) and the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or be determined eligible for listing by DHR. Public entities and nonprofits looking to fund rehabilitation projects in any of the 25 counties or eight independent cities of Southwest Virginia are encouraged to apply to the subgrant program. More information about the program and how to apply will be available on DHR’s website this fall. A full list of eligible counties and cities within the region as identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission is available at the end of this release.

“I am confident that each of the projects selected will benefit not only the historic property, but Southwest Virginia as a whole,” Langan said.

Named after the late preservation leader from Vermont, the NPS Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program was established to foster economic development in rural communities across the country by providing funding for the rehabilitation of historic buildings within those communities. Bruhn’s work with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, which began with the organization’s founding in 1980 and lasted until his death in 2019, made his name synonymous with economic revitalization in Vermont’s historic cities, towns, and communities. Earlier this month, the NPS announced that it was awarding nearly $9.7 million in Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants to 13 subgrant programs in 12 states this year. The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program was issued under Federal Assistance Listing 15.904, also known as the Historic Preservation Fund (authorized through 2023), which uses revenue from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.

Virginia counties eligible for DHR’s PBHRGP Subgrant Program are Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Carroll, Craig, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Henry, Highland, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.

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