On December 1, 2019, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) will begin accepting grant applications for historic preservation projects. The federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) will be available after Congress passes the federal budget. The exact amount of available grant funding is not known but it is expected to be in the range of $250,000.

Applications will be reviewed, rated and ranked. Decisions on funding grants will be made when the exact amount of funds are known, which may be as late as next August. The grants are matching grants and will reimburse up to 60% of the costs of approved project work. The remaining 40% must be provided by the grantee as matching funds. Restoration of historic buildings must follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

The selection process will emphasize projects such as architectural and archaeological surveys, design guidelines for historic districts, historic preservation educational materials and restoration of historic buildings that are listed in the National Register and have a public use. Priorities for grants will be based on the State Historic Preservation Office plan.. This includes areas experiencing rapid growth and development, other threats to cultural resources, areas where there are gaps in knowledge regarding cultural resources and communities that participate in the Certified Local Government program. For proposed survey projects, the projects should identify and record historic districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects important in Tennessee’s history and built over 50 years ago. Surveys may be for a specific geographic area or for sites associated with themes or events significant in the state’s history, such as the development of railroads in the 19th century or post-World War II residential development. Preservation plans for towns, neighborhoods and historic districts and the preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places are other areas for possible grant funding. In addition to the restoration of buildings, predevelopment work necessary to undertake rehabilitation is allowed.

On December 1, 2019, applications will be available at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) online grants system found at https://www.tn.gov/environment/about-tdec/grants-home.html.   There are two other options to access the grant applications.  If you go to www.tnhistoricalcommission.org, Federal Programs for the Tennessee Historical Commission and click on Preservation Grants, there is a link to the grant applications and a list of grants awarded in the past. You can also find the information by going directly to TDEC’s home page, going to the About section and then to Grants. The web has a user guide and tutorial.

All applications for Historic Preservation Fund grants must be completed by January 31, 2020.