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Grants available for main street building projects

December 21, 2018

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering grants for up to $200,000 in matching funds for downtown revitalization efforts in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Network. The Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant funds may be used to acquire, rehabilitate, and construct buildings on properties in designated downtown areas statewide.
 
Funded projects must facilitate community revitalization that will lead to private investment, job creation or retention, establishing or expanding viable businesses, or creating a stronger tax base. Projects may include façade improvement, accessibility enhancement, basic utilities, second floor renovations and more. Only organizations participating in the Oregon Main Street Network are eligible to apply. Projects must be within approved Main Street areas. Eligible organizations may collaborate with the local governments and private property owners to apply for projects that will have the biggest benefit to the downtown.
 
In 2017, the first year of the grant, SHPO awarded 27 matching grants worth $2,355,700 to Oregon Main Street Network organizations across the state for building projects that encourage economic vitality. Projects ranged from façade improvement to elevator access and seismic upgrades and awards ranged from $17,500-$100,000. 60% of the requests were funded, with 80% going to rural communities.
 
“While all of the 2017 projects are not complete, we are thrilled to see the impact this grant program is having in communities that are working hard to keep their downtowns a strong asset,” notes Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street Network Coordinator. The City of Reedsport funded a project that created five apartment units in downtown, stimulating additional economic activity. Harney County Chamber assisted with a project to activate the Central Hotel which had been vacant for decades. The property is now a boutique hotel with event rental space and filled commercial spaces. “We are looking forward to proposals for the new cycle,” adds Stuart.
 
In 2015, legislation established a permanent fund for the grant and provided an initial $2.5 million of funding as part of a larger lottery bond package. In the 2017 legislative session, an additional $5 million was approved and will be funded through the sale of the 2019 lottery bond package.
 
Preservation office staff is happy to talk with applicants about potential grant projects and review applications. A free workshop specific to the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant will be January 25, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. in Salem. Registration is required. To learn more about the grant, workshop, and the Oregon Main Street Network visit oregonheritage.org or contact Sheri Stuart at Sheri.Stuart@oregon.gov or 503-986-0679.