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Preserve the ‘Burg receives $150,000 to kickstart new preservation fund

Megan Holmes

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Detroit Hotel, courtesy of City of St. Pete Flickr.

Last October, Preserve the ‘Burg began discussions to explore the possibility of creating a revolving fund, a mechanism used nationally by historic preservation experts to increase the stock of historic housing and prevent demolition of historic properties.

Thursday, Preserve the ‘Burg announced that it received $150,000 in grant funding to kick off its revolving fund. Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation, matched by a commitment from the City of St. Petersburg, Preserve the ‘Burg will begin buying historic St. Petersburg structures in order to save them.

Revolving funds allow historic preservation organizations to purchase property, rehabilitate and stabilize it, and then sell it on the market with historic preservation easements attached to the property deed. The proceeds from the sale of one house are then put into another house, creating a cycle, or revolving door of funds.

The revolving fund concept allows historic preservation organizations to use free market solutions to solve historic preservation problems – through acquisition by donation or purchase of historic property – rather than city government interventions like third-party designation, a primary tool Preserve the ‘Burg has used in the past.

Last October, Preserve The ‘Burg gathered preservation experts from Louisiana and Georgia to discuss creating a fund along the same lines as those used in cities across the country from Galveston, Texas to Charleston, S.C. and Boston, Mass.

“Part of what makes St. Pete so remarkable is our unique history, and preserving that special history is an important part of what we do at the City,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said in a release from Preserve the ‘Burg. “That’s why I couldn’t be more pleased to congratulate our friends at Preserve the ‘Burg on securing this grant, which the City of St. Petersburg will be matching. Part of encouraging our continued economic vitality is maintaining our unique sense of place in the Sunshine City.”

“My thanks as well to the 1772 Foundation for recognizing this need in our city and the hard work of Preserve the ‘Burg,” he said.

In the last 20 years, the nonprofit 1772 Foundation has given over $50 million in grants for historic preservation and farmland preservation throughout the country.

Monica Kile

“It’s an incredible honor to have been selected by the 1772 Foundation for this grant,” said Monica Kile, executive director of Preserve the ‘Burg. “Equally rewarding is the amazing support and vote of confidence we have been given by the City with their commitment of a match.”

But $150,000 in grant funding is just the beginning, according to Kile, who said the organization will continue to apply for grants, funding and individual donors.

“We are always looking for individuals and organizations willing to assist us in our work through their donations,” Kile said, “either of dollars or land for building relocation sites.”

According to its release, Preserve the ‘Burg already has a project “in the pipeline” for 2020. Stay tuned to the St. Pete Catalyst for further details as projects are announced.

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    Karl Nurse

    March 5, 2020at7:36 pm

    It is good to see Preserve the Burg getting into the business of rehabbing historic buildings. Beyond doing the good work, as they experience the challenges surrounding this work, they will broaden their perspective. Unfortunately, some properties have suffered too much from bad roofs, termites and lack of preventative maintenance to be saved.

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