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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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