Posted by: mollyrossiter | June 15, 2009

Historical designation could mean funds

From Saturday’s Gazette:

An Iowa historic preservationist said churches may qualify for historic preservation funds or grants their members don’t know about.

Churches are not eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency money or other disaster funds, Rod Scott, president of the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance, said.

If the buildings are found to be historic, however, there could be preservation and other funds available. Those funds could go a long way in rehabilitating buildings damaged in last year’s floods, Scott said.

He has been in Cedar Rapids the last 10 months working with owners of flood-damaged buildings in the New Bohemia and Czech Village areas. He said he’s starting to turn his focus to include churches and other places of worship.

“None of these churches had been valuated for their historic significance,” Scott, of Iowa Falls, said. “Just like many of the cities that were flooded, none of them had any idea what their value was.” Preserving churches is important, he said.

“You have to have homes for people to live, places for them work and churches for them to worship in,” he said.

Government funds have been made available for residences and businesses, Scott said, but not for places of worship. “Faith has been the missing link in that recovery process,” he said.

Scott is working with Partners for Sacred Places, a group that has done work in post-hurricane Texas and Louisiana.

“They said they needed someone working in Iowa,” Scott said.

For more information or to talk to Scott about a church or other worship building, e-mail him at rod.scott@mchsi.com

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