LANSING, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced that the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has been awarded a $750,000 Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant from the National Park Service to support the preservation of historic buildings in rural communities located along the Great Lakes statewide.
“Michigan’s shoreline communities are travel destinations that that serve as economic, social, and cultural hubs and play a vital role in the state's economy,” said Gov. Whitmer. “This funding will help property owners in these critical communities continue to invest in their historic properties, which contribute to the identity and economic vitality that make our Great Lakes communities such an important part of Michigan’s identity.”
The federal grant will be used to fund the SHPO’s Resilient Lakeshore Heritage Program, aimed at addressing immediate needs in the state's rural communities along all four Great Lakes coastlines in Michigan and promoting long-term strategies that convey the role of historic preservation in supporting vibrant, culturally-rich places. Through the program, SHPO and its partners at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will support applicants with rehabilitation projects in communities that participate in SHPO's Certified Local Government (CLG) program, MEDC's Michigan Main Street program, or MEDC's Redevelopment Ready Communities program – three community-focused programs that recognize historic preservation as a meaningful component of economic development and community identity.
“Historic downtowns and corridors are a key element in the success of Michigan’s lakeshore communities serving as economic engines, conveying important stories about the development of areas along the Great Lakes, and providing the foundation that draws residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer Mark A. Rodman. “This program will directly support preservation projects that have an immediate impact and provide the catalyst for long-term preservation strategies that direct the future of these communities.”
The SHPO application received bipartisan Congressional support from members including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, U.S. Representative Jack Bergman and U.S. Representative Fred Upton.
"Grant funding for historic rehabilitation can be difficult for property owners and developers to obtain,” said Michigan Historic Preservation Network President David Jackson. “Through this grant award, the SHPO will be able to provide such an opportunity to Michigan's rural coastal communities. MHPN commends the SHPO for securing this funding for Michigan.”
Eligible properties will include commercial, industrial, civic, mixed-use and community-oriented properties in downtown cores and along prominent community corridors. Properties must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or be determined eligible for listing prior to the start of the project. Emphasis will be placed on “shovel ready” stabilization and rehabilitation projects and those that revitalize or activate underutilized or vacant properties.
Additional information on the program and the application process is anticipated to be released in early 2022.
“This opportunity to support historic rehabilitation projects is crucial in preserving the character and memorable aspects of our communities, especially for commercial property owners who face high construction costs in today’s economy. With a lack of skilled tradespeople in our region, historic character is often sacrificed because a skillset is not present in the workforce,” said city of Charlevoix Main Street Downtown Development Authority Director Lindsey Dotson. “These funds not only provide the opportunity to help offset the costs associated with the important work of retaining the character-defining elements of our built environment but will also help educate our local tradespeople in historic preservation.”
SHPO’s grant is one of 11 that was awarded this year to recipients in 10 states to support the preservation of historic buildings in rural communities across the country. Created in 2018, the Paul Bruhn Historic Preservation Grant Program supports subgrant programs of state and Tribal historic preservation offices, CLGs, and nonprofits that enable the rehabilitation of historic properties and rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities. The program honors the late Paul Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont for nearly 40 years.
“This National Park Service program not only supports historic preservation, but also fosters economic development in rural communities,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “By funding the rehabilitation of historic properties, rural areas across the country will be improved and strengthened.”
"I was thrilled to lean that Michigan has been selected to receive $750K through the Resilient Lakeshore Heritage Subgrant Program. This program is a wonderful opportunity for beautiful shoreline communities such as Cheboygan to preserve the historic places and natural spaces that are so important not only to our heritage, but our positive growth and momentum,” said Cheboygan Main Street Downtown Development Authority Interim Director Katie Duczkowski. “In places where coastline meets community, you’ll find that special glow that makes you proud to call Michigan home.”
Focused on the historic preservation of culturally or archaeologically significant sites throughout the state, Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office’s main function is to provide technical assistance to local communities in their efforts to identify, evaluate, designate, interpret and protect Michigan’s historic above- and below-ground resources. SHPO also administers an incentives program that includes federal tax credits and pass-through grants available to certified local governments.
To learn more about the State Historic Preservation Office, visit https://www.miplace.org/historic-preservation/.
This material was produced with assistance from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
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