Heritage Preservation Commission


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  7.B.       
Meeting Date: 01/18/2023  
From: Mark Reavis, Heritage Preservation Officer and Neighborhood Planner

TITLE:
Facade and Sign Grant - Proposed Revisions
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
The Heritage Preservation Officer recommends a 2-tier approach in revising the Historic Facade and Sign Grant Program. Tier 1 would be to retain the $10,000 participation cap as the incentive for small preservation projects intended for use in reversing non-historic modification and general preservation and improvement work. Tier 2 would be to provide an additional $10,000 match for exceptional preservation projects that are in full compliance with the US Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and accompanying Guidelines.  
Executive Summary:
Construction costs have significantly increased since the conception of the Historic Facade and Sign Grant Program which currently has a $10,000 limit cap of City participation for this 50/50 matching program. The Heritage Preservation Commission members noticed that some preservation projects are in need of and are much more deserving of additional funds to complete their projects. The question for discussion are: are all projects deserving of an additional amount of grant match or is there a situation where additional funding is provided when the project meets additional criteria?

The current guidelines call for adherence to the US Secretary of the Interior (SOI) Standards, but past practices have been somewhat lenient in strict adherence to these Federal Standards.  Projects that undo inappropriate modifications for example have been funded even when the restoration only partially meetings the SOI criteria. The Commission has the discretion to determine what projects merit grant funding and which do not.

Over the past few years, there are significant historic properties that retain the majority of their original historic fabric that are in need of specific preservation work to retain this original material.
Financial Impact:
Has the potential to utilize more available BBB fund allocation toward fewer projects. The current allocation in FY 23 has not been fully allocated and granted toward preservation projects. Additional funding is not recommended at this time.  If the commission would like to request a larger allocation of BB funds in association with the updated guidelines, budget requests are due this month. 
Policy Impact:
Adjusts priority of providing an incentive to significant preservation projects and fund fewer projects.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
The continuing allocation of collecting BBB visitor tax and using it to enhance the community through art, infrastructure beautification and historic preservation. Staff provided a primer for potential revisions to the Historic Facades and Signs Grant Guidelines at the August 17, 2022 Commission Meetings. Please review this discussion in advance of the meeting in January 2023.

    

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