Historic commercial buildings in downtown communities get funding boost for rehabilitation.

Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development's Division of Historic Preservation announced $100,000 in grant funding for 2019-2020 awarded through the Louisiana Main Street program to ten Main Street communities to revitalize historic commercial buildings.

The Louisiana Main Street program is an economic development program with its foundation in historic preservation. The program offers two types of competitive state-funded, dollar-for-dollar matching Restoration Grants, a $10,000 grant for major projects and a $2,500 grant for minor projects. Grants are awarded annually for either interior or exterior rehabilitation for a historic commercial building.

"The Louisiana Main Street Program, along with the Main Street communities around the state, represent the core of what community means here in Louisiana. These restoration grants will serve to bring about revitalization and change in these communities that otherwise may not have been possible," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "Many visitors to our state spend time in our cities learning about their history, seeing historic landmarks, and experiencing a unique culture found only in Louisiana, a culture that feeds your soul."

The 2019-2020 Louisiana Main Street Restoration Grant Recipients are:

--AE Rental Properties, LLC, Abbeville Lumber Building; Abbeville Main Street

--Emma Jean Richardson, Captain's Quarters Bed & Breakfast; Main Street Columbia

--Edmund Habetz, Bruce Building; Crowley Main Street

--Lemann Farm Supply; Donaldsonville Downtown Development District

--New Iberia Museum Foundation, Sliman Theater; New Iberia Main Street

--Bodemuller the Printer; Opelousas Main Street

--Friends of the Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site, Inc., Plaquemine Lock House; Plaquemine Main Street

--Rita Davis, Kutting Quarters; Olde Towne Slidell Main Street

--David Smith, Church and Main; Springhill Main Street

The Louisiana Main Street program operates under the umbrella of the National Main Street Center, an arm of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since 1984, Louisiana's Main Street program has helped more than 40 communities with design, planning, staff training, and capacity building. The program also provides revitalization technical assistance in the areas of economic development, streetscape design, promotion, and organization.

To qualify for the statewide grant funding, required criteria include that a building must be located within a Main Street district, be used for commercial purposes, and be at least 50 years old. In addition, the proposed work must be approved by the local Historic District Commission and the Louisiana Main Street office, while also conforming to the guidelines set forth by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Grant awardees were selected by a panel of experts from other coordinating Main Street programs across the country. The panel judged each application based on the proposed scope of work to determine a ranking in order to be selected to receive a grant.

Overall, Louisiana Main Street communities have seen $931 million in total investment between the private and public sectors including new construction and rehabilitation along with 12,722 new jobs, 2,962 new businesses, and more than 982,832 volunteers.

To learn more the program and available grants, visit the Louisiana Main Street webpage.

Contributed by La. Dept. Culture, Recreation & Tourism