Oregon offers grants up to $200,000 to renovate downtowns
The State Historic Preservation Office is looking for help breathing new life into Oregon's downtowns.
SHPO invites all organizations in Oregon Main Street Network communities to apply for revitalization grants to help buy, construct and fix buildings on approved main streets across the state. The grants will match up to $200,000 spent.
The goal of each revitalization project must be to bring about private investment, form or expand sustainable businesses or produce a stronger tax base. Potential projects ideas include increasing business accessibility, façade improvements or renovating second floors.
In 2015, Oregon established a permanent fund for the grant, using $2.5 million from a lottery bond package to start it off. In 2017, the fund received another $5 million from the sale of the 2019 lottery bond package. Due to the pandemic's impact on the economy, the 2021 bond sale was canceled. However, as of now, the 2022 and 2023 bond packages will include the Oregon Revitalization Grant.
In 2019, SHPO awarded eligible organizations with 30 matching grants totaling more than $5.24 million. Individual awards ranged from $56,731 to $200,000 and projects varied from façade improvements to housing. Out of all requests, 63% were funded, with 93% funneled into rural communities.
With the help of the Oregon Revitalization Grant, Coos Bay converted an old bank into an apartment and Baker City used structural enhancements to stabilize a retail and event building.
"While all of the 2019 projects are not complete, we are thrilled to see the impact this grant program is having in communities that have worked hard to make downtowns a strong asset despite the pandemic," Oregon Main Street Network coordinator Sheri Stuart said. "We're looking forward to proposals for the new cycle."
Grant applications for the new cycle are due March 15. Organizations can work in tandem with local government and private property owners to apply for large-scale projects.
SHPO encourages applicants to reach out to staff members about their grant project ideas. Staff will even review applications. Additionally, a free online workshop on the grant will occur from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14. Participants must register in advance.
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