Friday, February 28, 2014

Virginia Department of Historic Resources announces Reimbursement Grants

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2014
Randy Jones               

Department of Historic Resources

540.578-3031 (cell)


Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Announces Reimbursement Grants

for Repairs to Historic Structures
Damaged by Hurricane Sandy (October 2012)

in FEMA-Approved Localities

Localities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and recognized by FEMA in Virginia:
Cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, and Manassas; counties of Accomack, Arlington, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Essex, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Highland, King and Queen, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Mathews, Middlesex, Nelson, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Prince William, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Surry, Warren and Westmoreland

DHR will manage grant disbursements & conduct two workshops
to assist possible applicants prior to application deadline

Grants may also be used for preventive measures
to protect historic structures from future storms

RICHMOND - The National Park Service is allocating $1.5 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia to reimburse property owners for repairs to their historic properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm that struck the mid-Atlantic and northeast coast of the United States in October of 2012 leaving a wide path of destruction from Virginia to New England.

The grant is open to private property owners, and organizations or local governments with ownership interests in historic properties in jurisdictions in Virginia that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared federal disaster areas in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Owners of historic properties in those localities are now possibly eligible for reimbursement funds to repairs they made already or are planning to make to historic structures ravaged by the storm. The funds derive from the NPS's Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant for Historic Properties.

The grant funds may be "used for the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation, and repair of historic properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy," according to NPS guidelines. Applicants may apply for two types of funding: a "Pre-development / Planning" grant, which includes "technical assistance" through a survey and assessment of historic properties in order for plans to lessen future damage from a storm; the other grant is a "Development / Construction" grant. "The minimum grant award is $10,000 for Pre-development/Planning projects and $25,000 for Development/Construction projects," the grant guidelines state.

Virginia, while spared much of Hurricane Sandy's full fury, had 29 jurisdictions declared post-storm disaster areas by FEMA. Those jurisdictions are the cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, and Manassas, and the counties of Accomack, Arlington, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Essex, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Highland, King and Queen, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Mathews, Middlesex, Nelson, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Prince William, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Surry, Warren and Westmoreland.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) will manage and disburse the grant funds to applicants meeting NPS and DHR criteria. Grant applications must be submitted to DHR by no later than 3 p.m., Friday, March 28.

DHR staff will conduct two open house workshops for potential applicants to inform them about the scope of the grants, eligibility, and offer guidance in completing applications for the relief funds. The first workshop convenes March 7, 1 to 4 p.m. at DHR's headquarters at 2801 Kensington Avenue, Richmond.  A second workshop will be conducted March 12, 5 to 7 p.m., at DHR's Tidewater Region Preservation Office at 14415 Old Courthouse Way, Newport News.

"We are on a fast track to receive applications, disperse the funds, and get any approved projects underway in order to meet the grant's overall completion deadline," said Julie Langan, Acting Director, DHR.  "Our agency applied for this grant last year but only recently learned the dollar amount allotted Virginia by the NPS and, most importantly, NPS guidelines and conditions for awarding the grants," she added.

The "Development/Construction" grants are restricted to a "historic property" listed or eligible-as determined by DHR- for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or a historic property that contributes to a historic district listed in the National Register. DHR strongly encourages applicants to confirm a property's eligibility status, and if necessary, apply for National Register evaluation before submitting an application.

Projects awarded "Development/Construction" reimbursement grant funds must be carried out according to the Secretary of Interior's "Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties" and any alterations to historic buildings must comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, in addition to other requirements tied to the federal funds.

Applicants awarded a "Development/Construction" grant also will be required to provide DHR a "Preservation Covenant" of limited duration on a property that benefits from the grant funding.

The Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant is a competitive grant program and each application will be scored by DHR according to a pre-determined set of criteria. Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and, if determined eligible, will be rated according to the following criteria: 
  • Historic Significance of the property or properties.
  • Degree and nature of the damage or severity of threat to the property.
  • Applicant's ability to complete the project promptly and successfully, including project planning, administrative structures and budget, and ability to demonstrate fiscal prudence and readiness to proceed.
  • Ability of the project to address/correct the storm-related damage and whether the funds awarded will achieve a significant preservation objective and meet preservation standards. 
  • Degree to which local historic preservation needs will be met and a public benefit achieved.
  • Completeness and accuracy of the grant application.

After review and careful consideration, applications with the highest scores will be selected for funding. DHR may fund all or a portion of a proposed project. The department anticipates applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection process by April 11.

All projects approved for the grant must be completed and approved by DHR by no later than August 15, 2015. As these are reimbursement grants, all grantees must document and provide proof of expenditures and submit the same to recover eligible expenses. DHR expects that individuals or organizations covered by the grant will have 15 months to complete a project.

Grant applications are available for download at DHR's website: For more information about the grants, please contact Julie Langan, Acting Director, DHR, at (804) 482-6087 or by email at

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