The Preserve WV AmeriCorps program is the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s statewide service initiative where members help main streets thrive, help communities capture their local history, and help preserve beloved West Virginia landmarks. The purpose of the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program is to implement historic preservation and heritage tourism projects throughout WV by way of historic resource reuse, improvement, and interpretation. A historic resource could be a building, museum/archival collection, structure, landscape, or historic district / downtown commercial district. Members' service will emphasize community development and revitalization through projects focused on historic preservation, volunteer management, and cultural heritage tourism development.
Members will be placed with individual sites across the state, ranging from museums and archives to Main Street organizations and city agencies. Preserve WV AmeriCorps offers 2 main categories of site placements for members: Museums, Archives, and Heritage Sites; and Historic Districts, Revitalization Sites, and Thematic Regional Sites. Within those categories, each site has individual needs. A detailed description of all sites and their specific task lists (plus more information about the program) will be provided to applicants upon receipt of the initial application; alternately, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy in advance.
All members’ duties will include some combination of the following:
For more information, see http://www.pawv.org/americorps.html
More than a decade after closing its doors to students, Dunbar School may have found a second life as the city of Fairmont, the Dunbar School Foundation and Fairmont State University are working together to turn the building into a community center and museum.
Fairmont city planner Sandra Scaffidi said that due to several requests from residents, plans started to come together to renovate the school, starting small by installing a bathroom in the school’s gym.
“We’ve been hearing from the community that there’s need for indoor gymnasium space,” Scaffidi said.
“Dunbar has a gymnasium inside, but it needs to be refurbished a little bit. The main deterrent for using the gymnasium is that it doesn’t have a working bathroom facility right now, so the idea is to create an ADA-accessible bathroom. That’ll just allow people to utilize the space while the foundation is continuing to rehabilitate the building.”
The Dunbar School Foundation has been caring for the building since its closure, and the school has thankfully remained in good shape, according to Fairmont State Architecture Department Chair Philip Freeman, who has helped work on the project with his students.
“From a structural point of view, it’s a sound building,” Freeman said. “It doesn’t require a whole lot to get back into use. There are a lot of cosmetic issues, but the big issue with getting the building up and running immediately would be HVAC, electrical and plumbing — the systems that make a building usable.”
The building would also need a new roof.
Dunbar School Foundation President Houston Richardson said the team is constantly working to secure funding for the project, although it has hit a few rough patches.
“We’ve applied for heritage grants,” Richardson said. “We have tried for Bowers Grants before, but they don’t like dealing with bricks and mortar, and we have been turned away. Right now, we have a historical-type grant out, which Sandra put out for us. The Bowers Grant is due this week. That’s where we’re at right now.”
The foundation has also held community events to raise money and is hoping to do more in the future.
Read the entire article at https://www.wvnews.com/fairmontnews/news/plans-underway-to-renovate-dunbar-school/article_024d96bd-40e2-5313-9d6e-da957258eb0e.html
The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is launching a new funding initiative, the Historic Preservation Loan Fund, where it will partner with local and regional lending agencies to guarantee up to 20 percent of loans for historic preservation projects. The Historic Loan Fund will target West Virginia Endangered Properties and commercial structures that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The alliance is partnering with Woodlands Community Lenders, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority to pilot the fund and leverage more resources for larger revitalization projects in Barbour, Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers and Tucker counties.
The Historic Preservation Loan Fund is a revolving loan guaranty program whereby the alliance will promise, or guarantee, its loan funds in case a borrower defaults. This will in turn minimize risk for lending financial institutions and assist candidates that may not have the capital for a regular bank loan. “Made possible with a grant from the 1772 Foundation, the Historic Preservation Loan Fund focuses primarily on construction costs, but borrowers may also apply for acquisition and predevelopment costs, as well as grant funding match,” explained Danielle LaPresta, Executive Director for the alliance. “We are hoping to assist small borrowers like nonprofit organizations and local residents who lack access to the credit resources available to large borrowers, but feel passionately about saving and re-purposing a historic building.” According to LaPresta, these projects are also eligible for a 45 percent historic rehabilitation tax credit and state-issued Development Grants, among other grant funding. Applicants for the Historic Preservation Loan Fund will also receive technical assistance from the alliance, and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for Preserve WV AmeriCorps support.
While several preservation organizations have had success with similar loan programs in states across the United States, this will be the first revolving fund of its kind in West Virginia. With sustainability in mind, the alliance developed the program so that when borrowers pay back loans to local lending partners, the alliance’s funds will be opened up for new applicants. This allows the alliance to stretch the $25,000 grant it received from the 1772 Foundation in February to assist more projects across the state. “We are very grateful to the 1772 Foundation for supporting the development of this loan guaranty program for the last three years, and we are working hard to grow these seed funds,” said LaPresta. The alliance continues to raise funds for the Historic Preservation Loan Fund. “Every dollar we raise will go directly to guarantee loans,“ explained LaPresta. Interested individuals can contribute to this new financial resource at http://www.pawv.org.
Anyone interested in applying for loans using the Historic Preservation Loan Fund should contact Danielle LaPresta at email@example.com or by calling 304-345-6005.
economic development efforts throughout the state. Historic preservation can have a significant positive impact on downtown revitalization, business viability and growth, job creation, tax revenues, property values and tourism activity – all of which provide opportunities to combine her personal interests and professional position.
Debra recently completed a Historic Preservation certificate program through Bucks County Community College and is a certified Historic Real Estate Finance Professional. She also serves at the national level on the accreditation committee of America’s SBDC.
Thank you, Debra, for your enthusiasm and service!
A New Deal-era house in Arthurdale is better preserved thanks to a collaborative project between Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., and local AmeriCorps members.
On March 15, AmeriCorps members with the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia worked with the Arthurdale Heritage community to apply UV protection film to the windows of the site’s historic house museum. This UV film will help ensure the longevity of artifacts inside the house, such as documents, photographs, textiles, and furniture, that are sensitive to light and changes in temperature.
The two-story Wagner-style house built in 1935 gives visitors a sense of life at Arthurdale, the nation’s first New Deal Subsistence Homestead Community. Established by the Roosevelt administration in 1933, Arthurdale provided jobs, education, and modern housing for impoverished and unemployed local people. It also served as a laboratory for new educational, industrial, and farming techniques. Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., was formed in 1985 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving the cultural heritage of historic Arthurdale, located in Preston County.
This hands-on service project brought together a number of AmeriCorps members from West Virginia. It was organized by Pamela Curtin, a Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with Clio, a nonprofit website and mobile app developed by Marshall University that connects the public to historic and cultural sites.
“Arthurdale’s historic structures and artifacts have unique stories to tell,” says Curtin, who is based in Morgantown. “These stories are not only nationally-significant, but also personally meaningful to the families who lived and continue to live there. This project presented a wonderful opportunity to help preserve this history.”
Curtin coordinated the project with Nora Sutton, an Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps member serving with Arthurdale Heritage as a Museum Associate. “Collaborative projects like this one are so important to Arthurdale Heritage’s mission to preserve the structures and artifacts in our care,” says Sutton. “Applying this protective film to the house windows will help us care for unique textiles and furniture that were made here by original homesteaders. It was great to work with other AmeriCorps members dedicated to preserving the past.”
Both Curtin and Sutton are alumni of West Virginia University’s Public History MA program.
Several other AmeriCorps members volunteered for the project, including Rachel Niswander, Charlotte Riestenberg, Sydney Stapleton, and Jason Wright. Ed Turnley, Vice President of the Board of Directors and member of the Arthurdale Heritage Maintenance Committee, oversaw volunteer tasks, such as cleaning the windows and measuring, cutting, and applying the UV film. Turnley is also an Arthurdale homesteader descendant whose family lived not far from the house the volunteers worked on.
This project contributes to a larger effort by Arthurdale Heritage to preserve its historic structures, which also include community and administrative buildings, barns, a former gas station, and an iron forge.
Supplies for this project, including the professional UV film, were generously funded by the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia, the state’s leading grassroots organization dedicated to the support and promotion of historic preservation. In addition to education, outreach, and advocacy, PAWV coordinates an AmeriCorps program that places volunteers with small museums, heritage tourism agencies, and main street groups.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
Join PAWV in supporting the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) in its effort to be designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area. Your expression of support NOW for Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area will help bring this long-sought goal to life.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators you support Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area designation. Showing them strong grassroots support will inspire action!
See HERE for a contact list and HERE for sample letters and talking points.
For over 15 years, AFHA has worked for conservation and community development in our 18-county region. AFHA conserves, develops, interprets and promotes a regional network of forest-based resources and experiences, benefiting communities and the environment throughout the highlands of West Virginia and western Maryland. Now is the time to expand these efforts during our spring 2018 support letter campaign.
AFHA began seeking National Heritage Area (NHA) designation with the approval of our Feasibility Study by the National Park Service in 2006. For the study, more than 150 different private, government and non-profit agencies as well as individuals wrote in support (see list of letters HERE) of this designation.
Today, we need to show that support again.
Currently, two bills, Senate Bill 401 and House Resolution 3142, have been introduced in Congress to designate the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area. This designation will bring national recognition of the importance of the Appalachian Forest Heritage story, as well as technical assistance through the National Park Service and funding for local projects.
WHAT IS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
For over 30 years, National Heritage Areas have been telling America’s story. They are designed as a cost-effective way of conserving our nation’s natural and historic resources. This approach has been validated in 49 areas around the country, including two in West Virginia (Wheeling National Heritage Area and the National Coal Heritage Area), that have developed dynamic partnerships among local governments, non-profit groups and businesses.
The National Heritage Area program in a nutshell:
Let’s look at figures from one of West Virginia’s NHAs. The National Coal Heritage Area (NCHA) generates $207 million annually in economic impact, supports 2,744 jobs and generates $16.8 million in tax revenue. This economic impact consists of: tourism ($205.3 million), operations ($1.1 million), grant making activities ($419,000), and capital expenditures ($238,000).* The NCHA has been a driver of economic development in that southern West Virginia region and transformed communities through preservation and celebration of their rich coal history.
The opportunities for our region are similarly limitless; for we are unique. No other NHA has identified forest heritage as its primary theme. NHA status would provide support and funding for the region to develop interpretation and cultural programs; conserve our unique assets, recognize the role of past, present and future of the forest industry; strengthen our forest heritage identity; and share this amazing legacy with visitors.
For the history of Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area effort, including Feasibility Study, see HERE
Preserve WV AmeriCorps meets with Dr. Emory Kemp - esteemed West Virginia University Professor Emeritus and PAWV Co-Founder
Written by Samuel Richardson, Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving at the West Virginia & Regional History Center (Samuel (left) pictured above with Dr. Emory Kemp (right))
It was no surprise that I was going to face some serious challenges in my Year of Service with AmeriCorps. I would be examining and arranging the life’s work of Dr. Emory Kemp, with the goal of making his 300 box collection of blueprints, maps, restoration project reports, structural analysis papers, drawings, correspondence, and much more accessible to patrons of the West Virginia and Regional History Center (WVRHC). Public History, as an academic field, was foreign territory for me. However, as a graduate from the Public Administration program at West Virginia University, I was prepared to tackle any project that served the public’s interest. The transdisciplinary shift was a challenge, but complimented my “Clifton Strength’s Finder” examination which discovered my strength in adaptability.
Transdisciplinary shifts into public history are not unheard of, as according to Dr. Kemp, the structural mechanics PhD, was moved from civil engineering to the History Department at West Virginia University. Despite resistance in his early educational career to studying history as an academic discipline, he choose to remain in engineering. His resistance however, was no match for the orders of West Virginia University President James G. Harlow, who would implore Dr. Kemp lead the newly founded Institute for the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology in the Department of History, not engineering.
This was one of the many anecdotes that developed in the Monday afternoon meeting with the retired academic stalwart. Perhaps, in the process of officially retiring, as he promises his newest developing book on the Big Sandy River will be his last.
The materials in the collection were assembled to support projects over Dr. Kemp’s 50 year career. The materials were arranged in a manner with no particular emphasis on a preserved original order. Dr. Kemp stated that he expected the professional expertise of the faculty and staff at the WVRHC to arrange the materials in a fashion that would make his work most accessible to researchers.
Kemp also agreed with the proposed series arrangement, where WVRHC faculty member, Jane LaBarbara, and I hope to divide the collection into three major series, Kemp’s Personal Library, Publications by Kemp, and finally, “Subject Files” or “Research Projects.”
In hopes of understanding which areas of the large collection are appropriate to highlight and exhibit, Dr. Kemp will provide Jane and I with a list of 35 projects that were of noteworthy accomplishment and could be listed as potential engineering breakthroughs. Some of which, were his role in the construction of the Sydney Opera House, and saving the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company potentially millions of dollars, by engineering a way for them to integrate new equipment without completely destroying an older building. Kemp hopes to sit down with LaBarbara and me to discuss each of the projects in further detail.
To support community efforts to preserve, interpret and promote coal heritage resources, the National Coal Heritage Area Authority announces a grant round for eligible projects within the National Coal Heritage Area. The NCHA encompasses 13 counties in southern West Virginia: Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, Wyoming and the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek watersheds in Kanawha County.
Organizations eligible for grant awards are legally established non-profit organizations and institutions (recognized by the IRS) and public and governmental organizations including county and municipal governments, state agencies, economic development authorities and educational institutions, including public and private not-for-profit schools.
Applicant organizations must provide 50% of the project cost and may request grants ranging from $1,250 to $15,000 with the remainder provided in documented matching funds. Applications are due by 5:00 PM, April 13, 2018 to the NCHA office.
The NCHA management plan identifies interpretive themes for the area. Each project must address at least one of the interpretive themes in some manner and could go across several thematic areas. Both interpretive themes and eligible funding categories are listed below. For a full packet of information and to consult about your project, contact NCHA staff - www.coalheritage.org/Contact.aspx
Eligible Funding Categories
Interpretation and Heritage Programming: (Grant awards range from $ 1,250 - $10,000) Projects must create or further develop interpretive opportunities related to coal heritage within the National Coal Heritage Area incorporating at least one of the interpretive themes. Examples of eligible projects are interpretive brochures and guides, performances and performance spaces, interpretive exhibits, creation of public art exhibits and development of interpretive signs and brochures for walking/biking trails. It can include community or school based heritage education projects. Designs for printed materials, signage design and interpretive plans must be approved by the National Coal Heritage Area Authority before printing or fabrication of signs begins. Exterior interpretive signage must use the graphic design template currently in use by the National Coal Heritage Area. Historical markers will be allowed under this category, but must be a part of the Division of Culture and History’s historical marker program and must include adequate space for a minimum of two vehicles to safely pull off the road.
Historic Preservation and Resource Stewardship: (Grant awards range from $ 1,250 - $15,000)
Projects in this category must further the preservation, protection, and/or restoration of historic properites, landscapes and cultural resources with the National Coal Heritage Area and be directly connected to the interpretive themes of the National Coal Heritage Area. All structures must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or determined as eligible for listing by the State Historic Preservation Office. Preservation and restoration of historic structures must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.” All preservation projects are subject to approval of the WV State Historic Preservation Office and may not proceed until written notice from SHPO is received. Examples of eligible projects are development of a historic preservation master plan for an existing National Register district or structure, structural analysis for the purpose of stabilizing an eligilble structure and interior and exterior rehabilitation. (Contact the State Historic Preservation Office, 304-558-0220 for technical assistance in determining eligibility of structures.)
Archives and Historical Record Collection: (Grant awards range from $ 1,250 - $10,000)
Grants within this category will serve to increase the public’s access to historical records and documents or to preserve paper-based archival documents. Examples of possible projects include collecting and cataloguing archival documents to be made available to the public and creation of systems to allow on-line access to document images. All work done under this category must focus on improving the public’s access to archival information, but may not include ongoing operational expenses of operating an archival facility. A catalogue of material collected and archived under this grant category must be published and made available to the public either on-line or in print and a copy provided to the National Coal Heritage Area Authority.
Greenways, Public Parks and Non-motorized Trails: (Grant awards range from $ 1,250 - $15,000) Grants within this category must focus on creating outdoor interpretive spaces, be open to the general public and be generally accessible to the traveling public. Example of projects could include a trailhead facility that relates to the coal heritage of the area, interpretive materials, water trail access, roadside pull-offs featuring interpretive signage and/or historical markers, gateways to coal communities and non-motorized trails that connect historic resources. Design plans and feasibility studies for these types of projects are also considered to be eligible. In general playgrounds and recreational facilities will not be eligible for funding, unless they contain an interpretive element. Plans for maintenance of the site must be clearly defined with a responsible entity identified. All design plans for approved projects must be submitted to the National Coal Heritage Area Authority for approval before actual construction begins.
Educational Activities and Events: (Grant awards range from $1,250 to $2,500)
Grants within this category will focus on providing education opportunities within the community or schools. Educational activities should focus on preserving and sharing the history of the region with children, young adults or community members or involving those groups in collecting and preserving history. Eligible activities include: Field trips when combined with other educational activities, art projects that explore the history and culture of coal and coal communities, including drama, literature, photography, visual arts, music, dance, public art projects, special speakers or presentations when combined with other educational activities, historical research and documentation including oral and family histories and digital stories created by students and community members, and workshops or presentations designed to assist communities in preserving and interpreting their history.
PAWV sent this letter to Parkersburg's Design & Facade Review Committee the day before its meeting on February 14, 2018. The subject of the meeting was to vote on whether to approve the proposed demolition of the historic Citizens Bank Building located at 401 Market Street. During the meeting, the committee voted unanimously to approve the demolition of the structure. The committee is comprised of Mayor appointees.
Dear Parkersburg Central Downtown Business District Design & Façade Review Committee,
On behalf of the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia (PAWV), the statewide non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, I am requesting the committee to table the proposal to demolish 401 Market Street and allow for public comment and additional discussion regarding WesBanco’s redevelopment project. Part of PAWV’s mission is to advocate for sensitive development and design that incorporates historic buildings such as the Citizens National Bank Building and to preserve existing structures that are the keys to downtown redevelopment.
When expanding this study beyond a 1 block radius, the ratio of building footprint compared to pedestrian and vehicle space dwindles even more (see aeriel view above). This is a common trait of unsustainable and unhealthy cities. It is our opinion that parking lot will not improve the economic climate of the City, however, WesBanco can become a leader in enhancing the historic downtown through their effort. Additionally, there are financial incentives for redevelopment and national trends that can be replicated in Parkersburg in which the building located at 401 Market St. can be preserved while meeting the parking and thoroughfare needs of WesBanco. I have included some of these ideas at the bottom of this letter.
As the statewide nonprofit supporting historic preservation, we can provide many ideas in favor of preserving this historic building in an attempt to convince the committee to vote to table this proposal and even vote “no” to the proposal, but ultimately, I urge you to listen to your citizens. Over 500 people have signed a petition asking you to vote “no” to this proposal. It is important to your residents that you preserve what is left of the downtown. It is a treasure, and it is a place that matters. That is why PAWV chose Parkersburg as its host town for the upcoming West Virginia Historic Preservation conference bringing dollars and energy into your community; you have a lot to offer and potential for redevelopment.
You have active residents that care about historic preservation, and this is an excellent opportunity to show forward thinking for future generations.
Thank you for your service and consideration,
FINANCIAL INCENTIVE – HISTORIC TAX CREDIT
The Citizens National Bank Building has been vacant for over a decade, and its redevelopment has been financially unfeasible in the past. However, as of January 1, 2018, West Virginians can take advantage of a combined state and federal historic tax credit of 45% on income-producing properties. Prior to this increase, the combined state and federal historic tax credit was 30%, but a 45% tax credit on qualifying construction activities (interior and exterior) is a major incentive for banks and property owners to rehabilitate historic properties like the Citizens National Bank building.
Tearing down the Citizens National Bank Building for a parking lot and alley is a short-term answer to a vacant building problem that can be incentivized now for redevelopment. Please run the pro-forma again for redeveloping this property using the historic tax credit figures, and this property could be marketed for rehabilitation in a prime location in downtown Parkersburg. PAWV would be happy to lend its services in reconfiguring a pro-forma to demonstrate whether redevelopment of this building is possible now that the historic tax credit is 40%. And if WesBanco also needs additional space for offices, 401 Market St. offers prime street front and first-floor space that can be redeveloped using the historic rehabilitation tax credit. The bank has acquired and redeveloped a historic property at 33 N. Third St. in Columbus, Ohio. The WesBanco Regional President Lisa Robinson was quoted as saying acquisition is a “huge new step for WesBanco”, and we encourage the committee and WesBanco to work together to consider something similar for Parkersburg.
PARKING GARAGE INSTEAD OF PARKING LOT?
According to Parking Consultant, Gerard Giosa, “Surface parking gobbles up so much land that it begins to negatively affect the character and walkability of a downtown business district. An 800-car parking garage can be constructed on a piece of land that is just 120 feet wide by 270 feet long, and it can be tucked into the center of a downtown block and surrounded by existing and new buildings so that it is hardly visible from the street. By contrast, if we wanted to provide those same 800 spaces in a surface parking lot, the parking lot would have to be the size of four and a half football fields! And it’s almost impossible to assemble that volume of contiguous land in an existing downtown setting.”
There is a service parking lot already connected to the WesBanco property, and a parking garage across the street from the WesBanco property. Has WesBanco considered building a parking garage and thoroughfare on its existing surface lot if the bank has identified that additional parking is needed? This parking garage may even serve as an additional incentive for redevelopment of 401 Market St. Although the up-front costs of the parking garage are more expensive, estimated in 2013 by Giosa at $21,000 per parking space versus $3,000 per parking space in a surface lot, the parking garage can attract additional development by meeting parking needs for the redevelopment of 401 Market St., as well as providing additional parking for the Blennerhasset Hotel. Over time, the parking garage can pay for itself through monthly and day parking for employers in the downtown area.
 Gerard Giosa article can be accessed at http://buildabetterburb.org/financing-parking-garages-qa-with-parking-consultant-gerard-giosa/
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