We are thrilled to share that Pioneer Valley Regional Ventures Center’s (PVRVC) has been awarded the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant to support the creation of the Preservation Works in Western Mass subgrant program.
This is the fifth year of the program, honoring the late Paul Bruhn, beloved executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont for nearly 40 years. This also marks the fifth year that AHF has actively tracked the grant, working behind the scenes to bring it to Massachusetts’s rural communities that so acutely need this type of support. In our experience, successful historic preservation requires vision, patience, creativity, collaborative partnerships – and importantly, financial resources.
Time and time again, we find that in our rural communities, historic properties are typically smaller in scale, which is a challenge when paired against high construction costs. The small communities in Western Massachusetts have a limited ability to raise a grant match, placing most state grant opportunities out of reach. With limited grant and philanthropic assistance, investing in the town’s historic assets places an extraordinary financial burden on these small communities, disincentivizing them from utilizing their historic properties as a tool for cultural and economic growth.
The $750,000 grant will allow the state-designated regional planning agency to work with the Ventures Center to develop a subgrant program and select individual projects in rural communities for physical preservation projects that will contribute to economic vitality.
PVRVC’s new program will begin to close the funding gap for historic properties in rural communities and produce examples of the opportunity that exists to galvanize economic development by restoring and re-using National Register-listed community anchor buildings. The idea is to support economic development through the preservation of historic buildings in towns with fewer than 12,500 residents in Hampshire County, as well as small communities in Hampden and west central and southwest central Worcester counties.
It is the first time a Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant has been awarded to a Massachusetts organization. We look forward to supporting this endeavor across the western part of our state!