2009 Annual Report
Grants and Tax Relief Help Owners Restore Historic Properties
MDAH Board of Trustees to Award Preservation Grants in Fall 2009
During its regular session, the Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 1722 which funded a seventh round of the Community Heritage Preservation Grant (CHPG) program. Approximately $1.2 million made available by H.B. 1722 will be matched by MDAH with $800,000 from reserve funds of previous CHPG rounds. The grants may be used to pay the cost of preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and interpretation of historic courthouses and historic school buildings. In Certified Local Government communities, grant funds may also be used for projects involving public and private, nonprofit-owned historic buildings other than courthouses or schools. The grants will be awarded in fall of 2009.
Tax Credits Promote Rehabilitation of Landmarks
Substantial federal and state tax credits continue to be awarded for the rehabilitation of buildings in Mississippi. Among the significant tax projects approved during FY 2009 were the Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian branches of Hancock Bank, representing a total investment of nearly $2.5 million. Work also continued on the King Edward Hotel project in downtown Jackson. As part of this complex, a state and federal tax credit project for the nearby Standard Life Building is also underway.
Certified Local Government Community Grants
The MDAH Board of Trustees awarded $67,956 in Certified Local Government grants to fifteen CLG communities across Mississippi, including Aberdeen, Biloxi, Brandon, Canton, Como, Corinth, Grenada, Hattiesburg, Hernando, Indianola, Kosciusko, Ocean Springs, Oxford, Pascagoula, and Summit.
Thirteen of the CLG communities and several Mississippi Main Street organizations were represented at MDAH's second annual Preservation Boot Camp in June. Sessions led by MDAH staff included an overview of Mississippi's architectural history, presentations on the National Register of Historic Places and Mississippi Landmark programs, and discussions about historic preservation commissions, State Historical Markers, and grant programs.
By the end of FY 2009, Mississippi had fifty-six Certified Local Government communities.
MDAH and MDA Help Property Owners on Gulf Coast
MDAH has received assistance from the Mississippi Development Authority to expedite review of potential grant projects on the Gulf Coast. Once MDAH review is complete, MDA will award grants to elevate houses above the flood zone and to provide housing.
MDA also provided funding to assist with the preservation of historic resources on the Gulf Coast. The majority of these funds will be for archaeological research and surveys and to supplement the Historic Preservation grant program.
Coast Office Manages Post-Katrina Grants
The Gulf Coast Office is currently administering two National Park Service grant programs—the $25,500,000 Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation and the $500,000 Katrina Recovery appropriation for the reconstruction of the antebellum mansion Grass Lawn in Gulfport. The larger grant is funding the rehabilitation of 261 Hurricane Katrina–damaged historic properties, ranging from large publicly owned buildings to small owner-occupied residential shotguns and cottages. All the projects are overseen by the Gulf Coast Office's six staff members, who assist property owners and architects by defining the scope of grant-supportable work; locating qualified contractors to bid; reviewing plans, specifications, and contracts for the work; monitoring the work to insure that it meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards; and processing invoices for reimbursement.
In many cases the staff also undertakes historical research to guide the rehabilitation. In order to perform the site visits necessary for project oversight, the staff logs about 30,000 miles annually on about 1,500 site visits, covering an 11-county area that stretches from the Coastal counties to as far as Forrest, Lauderdale, and Lincoln Counties. In addition to grant management, the office also serves southern Mississippi as a resource for information about historic preservation, assisting federal and state agencies, local governments, and private citizens to access various preservation programs. By the end of Fiscal Year 2009, a total of $13,826,000 in grant assistance had been disbursed toward completion of the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation.
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