Statewide News: February 4, 2021

PRESERVATION TEXAS WELCOMES SERENA PUTEGNAT OF BROWNSVILLE TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brownsville attorney and preservationist Serena Putegnat has joined the Preservation Texas Board of Directors for a three-year term.  We look forward to working with Serena to address critical preservation issues in South Texas.  Also returning to the board for a second three-year term will be preservation architect Charles John of San Antonio.  The board has been meeting virtually and will continue to do so until it can safely resume meeting quarterly in various locations across the state.  We are eager to reschedule long-postponed meetings in Beaumont, Fort Worth, and El Paso.

PRESERVATION TEXAS MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM RETURNS IN MAY
Last year, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts on the many nonprofit organizations, communities, and professionals who support our organization as members, we suspended all membership renewals until 2021. The membership program will return during National Historic Preservation Month in May, with new benefits for members and opportunities for engagement across the state.  Stay tuned!

HONOR AWARDS JURY TO MEET LATER THIS MONTH
The PT Honor Awards Jury will convene at long last later this month to select this year’s Honor Award recipients. Planning continues for the most effective presentation of these awards, sponsored in part by the generous support of Stonehenge Capital. We thank all of the applicants for their patience as we navigate this process virtually.

DOWNTOWN EL PASO HISTORIC DISTRICT NOMINATION MOVES AHEAD
In January, the State Board of Review unanimously recommended establishment of a National Register historic district in downtown El Paso that would include 174 contributing properties. Preservation Texas has strongly advocated for this district, which would provide important financial incentives for the ongoing restoration of downtown El Paso’s diverse historic resources.

THC APPROVES UNDERTOLD MARKER TOPICS INCLUDING SITE NOMINATED BY PRESERVATION TEXAS
The Texas Historical Commission approved fifteen Undertold Marker topics at its quarterly meeting on February 3, 2021. A total of 67 applications were made from 36 counties.  Included among the fifteen was a marker topic submitted by Preservation Texas recognizing the Chinese laborers who worked on the construction of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad in 1870 between Bremond (Robertson Co.) and Thornton (Limestone Co.). The marker is to be placed adjacent to the railroad tracks in Kosse (Limestone Co.).  For more information visit our website.

TEXAS HISTORICAL FOUNDATION QUARTERLY GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 1st
Texas Historical Foundation grants provide seed money to help organizations save their own pieces of the state’s past. Proposals for the following types of projects are considered:
  • Historic property restoration
  • Events promoting state history to the general public
  • Preservation of artifacts, archival materials, or legal documents
  • Texas history curriculum in classrooms
  • Publications and scholarly research in Texas history
  • Archeology
  • Preservation of the Arts in Texas
For more information and to apply visit THF’s website.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE’S UNDERREPRESENTED COMMUNITY GRANT PROGRAM APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 31st
Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are eligible to apply for funding through the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Community Grant Program (URC). The Program works towards diversifying the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. URC grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and are administered by the NPS. Projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites. Congress has appropriated $750,000 in URC funding for FY2020.

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES GRANT PROGRAM APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 31st
The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program (HBCU) works to fund physical preservation of National Register listed historic sites on accredited HBCU campuses. Since the 1990s, the National Park Service has awarded over $77 million in grants to over 60 of the remaining active HBCUs. HBCU grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and are administered by the NPS. Projects include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of historic properties according the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation. Congress has appropriated $10 million in HBCU funding for FY2020.
HBCUs in Texas are: Huston-Tillotson University (Austin); Jarvis Christian College (Hawkins), Paul Quinn College (Dallas), Prairie View A&M (Prairie View), Southwestern Christian College (Terrell), St. Philip’s College (San Antonio), Texas College (Tyler), Texas Southern University (Houston), Wiley College (Marshall).

NATIONAL TRUST’S SOUTHWEST INTERVENTION FUND GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE JUNE 1st
Southwest Intervention Fund grants are intended to further preservation efforts of the traditional cultures of the Southwest. Projects must be located in West Texas to be considered (west of US Route 281 from the Oklahoma border to San Antonio proper and north of US Route 90 from San Antonio proper to Del Rio are eligible for consideration.)
Grants awards may be made for activities and projects such as:
Strategic opportunities to save sites or help jump start preservation projects
Legal resources required to prepare research and/or briefs, and to travel to/from Southwest states for direct legal intervention
Advance the protection of important archaeological sites
Communications expertise to develop compelling information for press and other public forums in the region
For more information and to apply visit the National Trust’s website.

TEXAS MAIN STREET COMMUNITY DESIGNATION APPLICATIONS DUE JULY 30th
The Texas Historical Commission’s application process for designation as a Texas Main Street community is now open. In case your community is interested, you can find all of the relevant documents as well as the Application form that can be completed digitally on the THC website at: https://www.thc.texas.gov/becoming-main-street-community. Applications are due July 30, 2021. An optional Intent to Apply can be submitted by May 28 that allows THC to schedule a community, stakeholder and/or city staff information meeting (virtual in 2021). If accepted following evaluation of applications by representatives of several state agencies and acceptance by commissioners of the Texas Historical Commission at their fall quarterly meeting (usually in October), official entrance is January 1, 2022.

SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATORS GRANT PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO ELIGIBLE VENUES
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The program includes $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
Most relevant to historic preservation are live venue operators, museum operators, and motion picture theater operators, many of which operate in historic sites.
Learn more through the SBA website.

PRESERVATION PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: TEXAS DANCE HALL PRESERVATION RAISES OVER $250,000 FOR DANCE HALL RELIEF
Texas Dance Hall Preservation (TDHP) closed fundraising for the Texas Dance Hall Relief Fund in December after exceeding its goal. Due to COVID-19, dance halls across Texas have been largely closed down since March 2020, with many forced to cancel annual festivals and fundraisers, countless weddings, and other events that provide their primary source of income. In August, TDHP invited 180 historic dance halls to apply for reimbursement of regular building expenses, such as insurance and utilities. Thirty-two halls applied, and TDHP announced total donations of $262,520 to assist these halls through this difficult time.
In addition to the Dance Hall Relief Fund, TDHP has increased its Preservation Fund Grant program for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 to help halls make much-needed repairs, such as updating electrical wiring and plumbing, while they are closed. Donations are being accepted for the Preservation Fund Grants on an ongoing basis at texasdancehall.org/donate.
Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc., is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historic dance halls and the authentic Texas heritage, music and culture found in them. Learn more at: www.texasdancehall.org.