Federal historic preservation grants announced

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

In mid-December 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service is awarding $46.5 million in historic preservation grants to 59 states and U.S. territories.

Let’s face it: $46.5 million is a big pot compared to our household budgets!

Divided among the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, however, that comes out to an average of $788,136 if split evenly among the 59 entities receiving the money.

Georgia’s piece of this historic preservation pie? $902,818. That’s 1.97 percent of the total, and somewhat more than the average award.

Arrow points to Georgia value, when ranked among all states (not all entities receiving funds).

The press release from the Secretary’s office says that the division is “based on a formula that considers the size, population, and number of historic properties of each area.”

According to the press release:

The National Park Service will administer the grants through a fund established under the National Historic Preservation Act. The grants can be used through September of 2011 for historic property inventories, resource protection planning, nominations for the National Register of Historic Places, monitoring Federal historic preservation requirements, technical assistance for those seeking to preserve and protect historic resources, assisting local government preservation programs, and acquisition or development of historic properties.

The press release lists what each state and other entities will receive. The list is titled “Fiscal Year 2010 Historic Preservation Fund Apportionment to States under P.L. 111-88.”

The total received by the states will be $42,826,949, or 92.1 percent of the total. That’s an average of $856,539 for each of the fifty states. Georgia’s portion, $902,818, is slightly above the state average, then. Twenty-one states received more than the average, and none received less than $500,000.

Nine states will receive more than a million dollars; they are California ($1,476,028), New York ($1,344,989), Texas ($1,319,232), Pennsylvania ($1,167,552), Illinois ($1,131,366), Michigan ($1,101,370), Ohio ($1,093,803), Florida ($1,021,027), and Alaska ($1,002,486). Note that all are large in land area (and, except for Alaska, have large populations), and thus may be considered to have more resources than small states. These nine states will receive 22.92 percent of the total grants, and 24.89 percent of the total given to the states. When the grants to these nine states are subtracted from the total, the other fifty entities (that is 41 states and nine non-states) divide $35,842,147, for an average of just under $716,843.

Five states will receive less than $650,000. All are small in land area. They are New Hampshire ($616,382), Rhode Island ($575,378), Hawaii ($571,458), Vermont ($570,562), and Delaware ($525,518).

Generally, the lowest amount went to the nine non-states. They received a total of $3,673,051 and an average of $408,117. Puerto Rico ($640,462) and the District of Columbia ($522,668) were the only non-state entities receiving more than $500,000.

The SGA members know that the Department of the Interior is responsible for many, many historical and archaeological resources. As Secretary Salazar is quoted in the press release:

Preserving and celebrating our nation’s rich history is a vital part of the Department of the Interior’s mission. These grants from the Historic Preservation Fund will assist state, tribal and local governments in telling their stories while providing both cultural and economic benefits to their communities and to the nation as a whole.

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