A person that is thinking about completing a historic building restoration should first take the necessary time to research the subject and decide whether the finished result will be worth the effort. Restoring historic buildings is not easy and involves many different aspects to be done correctly. There are often specific local regulations that govern how a historic building can be changed and plans must be submitted before the first step is taken. The services of an architect will need to be retained and a person will need to have all of the necessary money to complete the project before it is begun. However, for those people that are determined to make a historic building restoration, public funds exist to help with the process and beautify the city.
Grants for restoration of historic buildings will vary from one geographic location to the next, but they essentially come from a fund of money set aside by the government to preserve the history of the nation. There are three main grant programs that a person can choose from. The largest of these programs is called Main Street Grants and is a federal project created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the program, the department gives money to individuals that live in less populated areas to complete a historic building restoration in the city’s historic area. The rules of the program state that the population of the city must be less than 50,000 people and that there must be less than 100 units of public housing in the area. In addition to individuals, local agencies can also ask for these types of grants. Another grant program that is quite popular is known as the Save America’s Treasures Grant Program. This project was initiated and is maintained by the National Park Service. The main goal of the program is historic building restoration for local landmarks. In most cases, a nonprofit agency will ask for the grant and the money given must be matched on a dollar to dollar basis. The third program is called the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund and works to preserve the interior of historic houses and buildings. The fund gives grants to study and maintain the graphic design, architecture, paint analysis, and planning of buildings from previous eras. The grants are not given for projects that involve the exterior of a historic building.
Any individual or agency that would like to restore a historic building should take advantage of the grants to reduce the expense of the project. However, working with a grant program will mean that the traditional process of making the renovation must be adhered to. The building will first need to be cleaned, including the removal of any damage caused by fire or water. After a full cleaning has been done, the crew can begin the major repairs. The last stage of a historic building restoration project is to rebuild and repair the areas that need attention without causing damage to the historical aesthetic of the building.