Grants benefit Old Town houses
Some of the windows around Old Town look better now because City Hall helped pay for upgrades. Perhaps not as noticeable, some of the foundations under Old Town homes benefited from the same pot of government money.
Park City’s historic-district grants, dating from 1987, provide people with money if they are willing to fix up their houses, a popular program that homeowners throughout Old Town have tapped when they are planning upgrades.
The grants are available all year but, with construction season looming, there could be more interest.
The Historic Preservation Board, the City Hall panel that assists with development in Old Town, oversees the grant program. The board members consider grant requests each month and look for "projects that provide a community benefit of preserving and enhancing the historic architecture of Park City," as outlined in a guide to the grants.
"It basically demonstrates the city’s commitment to preserving the historic structures in Park City," said Sandra Morrison, the executive director of the Park City Historical Society and the Park City Museum.
People may apply for the matching grants to help pay for improvements like siding, windows, outside doors, porch repairs and stabilizing structures. But the grants are not allowed to help fund signs, remodeling the insides of a building and repairing what are described as "non-original features."
If someone receives a grant and then sells the property within five years, they must pay pack the funds at a pro-rated amount and pay City Hall interest.
The local government earmarks $75,000 per year for the grants.
David White, the chairman of the Historic Preservation Board, lists structures at 501 Woodside Ave., 509 Main St. and 10 Daly Ave. as having benefited significantly from the grants.
He said people in Old Town have fixed up windows, railings and stairs, among other house features, with the grants.
"I think the grants have helped the look of Old Town immensely," White said, noting that most of the grants he has reviewed have ranged from $10,000 to $20,000.
The government has awarded six grants since September 2004, when $7,200 was put toward a house on the 800 block of Woodside Avenue. Since then, the largest grant, $9,000, was awarded to a structure on the 100 block of Park Avenue.
The Historic Preservation Board is currently considering requests for five grants, including for structures on Park Avenue and Norfolk Avenue.
"A lot of the houses are still standing today because of the grant program," Morrison said.
People seeking grants must submit an application, a description of the work, a cost estimate, drawings, photographs of the building and a history of the structure.
Morrison said the grants are part of a three-level approach City Hall has used in trying to preserve Old Town’s character, a goal of the government. She said Old Town’s design guidelines and the technical assistance provided by the Historic Preservation Board and staffers complement the grants.
"It gives us an understanding of our past and where our community comes from," she said.
For more information, call the Planning Department at 615-5060.
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