Historic structure grant available

GREENFIELD — Owners of businesses housed in historic buildings can spruce up their structures on the state’s dime — to the tune of $100,000 — as part of a grant program aimed at preserving Indiana history.

Commercial properties listed on the state and national historic registers, including those located in Greenfield’s historic district, which encompasses much of State and Main streets downtown, qualify for $10,000 to $100,000 of grant money to help cover the cost of structural improvements to the buildings.

As part of the new Historic Renovation Grant Program, which is being offered by the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, about $1.2 million statewide is up for grabs.

During the latest legislative session, lawmakers approved legislation allocating funding for the grant program, which is designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties as a way to further incentivize downtown economic development in Hoosier cities and towns, according to a news release from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

But the grant process moves fast, said city planner Joanie Fitzwater. So property owners seeking financial help for projects to renovate their buildings need to act quickly, she said.

In order to be eligible, property owners must submit a letter of intent form to OCRA and be able to provide a 65 percent match of the funding they request. Letters are due by May 6.

The grant is a unique opportunity, as the funding can be used for structural repairs, including those to buildings’ foundations and roofs, Fitzwater said. Usually, grant money is reserved for façade upgrades.

“Those are big-ticket items for these property owners,” she said.

Renovating and updating historic buildings in the city’s downtown district is one piece of a broader effort to revitalize downtown, and the new grant opportunity couldn’t come at a better time, Fitzwater said.

“It is an amazing chance to really do some good for our historic properties,” she said.

Shelley Swift, executive director of Greenfield Main Street, an organization dedicated to fostering enthusiasm for and prosperity in the downtown district, hopes many businesses take advantage of the grant.

The architecture that characterizes downtown Greenfield is a major asset and preserving the quaint, historic feel is important, she said.

Greenfield Main Street Inc., the city and nonprofits can’t apply for the grant on behalf of property owners, but the city’s planning office can help building owners get started, Fitzwater said.

At a glance

Commercial properties listed on the national historic register are eligible for a new grant program that provides between $10,000 and $100,000 for structural improvements to historic, income-producing buildings. 

Property owners interested in applying for the grant must submit a letter of intent to the Office of Rural and Community Affairs by May 6. A 65 percent match of the funding requested is required to be eligible for the program.

For more information, call the city’s planning office at 317-477-4320 or visit in.gov/ocra/hrgp.htm.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.