More than $7.2 million in preservation grants awarded across Colorado

Contributed photo Sociedad Protección Mutua De Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) of Antonito received funding from History Colorado totaling $250,000 that will go toward roof restoration and structural stabilization in order to keep the building in use for community events and celebrations.

Organizations in Conejos and Saguache counties receive funding from History Colorado

DENVER — History Colorado announce Wednesday, Dec. 8, a newly completed State Historical Fund (SHF) grant round that provides more than $7.2 million in grant funding for preservation efforts across the state, including organizations in Conejos and Saguache counties.

These awards leverage $4 million in matching funding provided by grant applicants and their community partners to exceed a total of $11 million in initial impact funding. Every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state.

Beyond significant economic stimulus, SHF awards provide important social and community benefits by enhancing environmental sustainability, fostering community pride and resilience, and protecting priceless cultural resources.

To ensure the benefits of preservation are accessible to as many Coloradans as possible, new considerations for diversity, equity, and inclusion informed the evaluation process for every application received in this grant round.

Following an effort to better align the grantmaking process with History Colorado’s Grounding Virtues, a new section of the SHF application asked applicants to discuss how their prospective grant project was created with, by, and for the benefit of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

Projects serving these communities also benefited from new, lower cash-match requirements, reducing or eliminating additional fundraising burdens for those seeking grants. This first grant round with the new evaluation metrics resulted in $3.4 million in SHF awards that will specifically benefit BIPOC groups across the state.

These improvements take place amid stark inequities in historic preservation in Colorado and nationally. As of 2020, only 8 percent of the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places relate to underrepresented communities and/or women nationwide, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Only 2 percent relate explicitly to Black history.

Here in Colorado, of the approximately 1,500 properties in this state listed by the National Register, less than five percent are directly related to the history of women, LGBTQ+, and historically underserved BIPOC communities.

"We have witnessed the powerful benefits catalyzed by our State Historical Fund across Colorado,” said Dawn DiPrince, History Colorado Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer. “I am proud of the steps History Colorado is taking to ensure that the power of preservation is realized by all of our Colorado communities. This work is essential to building a vibrant and equitable Colorado future."

SLV highlights from this grant round include:

  • Sociedad Protección Mutua De Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU); $250,000, Antonito — SPMDTU is one of the oldest Hispanic/Hispano civil rights organizations in the United States. The organization was founded in Antonito in 1900. SPMDTU was started to fight discrimination in mining and railroad industries and to protect Hispano property rights. The work to revitalize this National Register includes roof restoration and structural stabilization in order to keep the building in use for community events and celebrations.
  • Garcia Ranch (Potato Barn); $218,521, Conejos — structural stabilization
  • Gotthelf & Mayer Mercantile Building — Saguache County Comprehensive Health; $250,000, Saguache — clinic exterior and interior rehabilitation
  • Saguache Hotel; $177,227, Saguache — window, door, and porch restoration and rehabilitation

Highlights from across the state:

  • Civil Rights Context; $86,600, Fort Collins — This initial context on the civil rights movement in Fort Collins will document the history and places of various civil rights movements for historically excluded groups in Fort Collins, including, but not limited to, Latinx residents, Native Americans, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Black/African Americans, people with disabilities, residents who identify as LGBTQIA+, and women. This work will help to identify future preservation needs and educational materials for Fort Collins.
  • Montrose Potato Growers; $250,000, Montrose — The 1908 Montrose Potato Growers, a National Register building, has long played a critical role in the community as an agricultural hub. After being vacant, the building is now being used by High Oasis, LLC in collaboration with the City of Montrose, which will adapt the building to be used as a distillery. Funding provided for this project will focus on the exterior of the building.
  • Peoples Presbyterian Church; $104,923, Denver — The Peoples Presbyterian Church has served a predominantly African American congregation for more than 65 years. The church building, a National Register site, is a great example of Mission-inspired architecture and is located between Whittier and Skyland/North City Park neighborhoods in Northeast Denver. The awarded work will address needed repairs to the roof and associated masonry. This is a continuation of work that follows a recent porch restoration project. Rehabilitation of People’s Presbyterian will allow the building to continue as a community hub for years to come.
  • American Legion Hall; $236,918, Eads — This American Legion Hall, a National Register site, project is spearheaded by Kiowa County, which will now move onto a second phase of revitalization of this community building. It will address the exterior and interior of the building to bring it one step closer to seeing renewed life as the center for large community gatherings. Community centers play an important role in the social and cultural life of rural communities. Projects like this add to the vitality and resilience of rural Colorado.

Since 1981, historic preservation projects in Colorado have created over 27,000 jobs and generated a total of nearly $3.9 billion in direct and indirect economic impacts, adding $2.2 billion to Colorado’s GDP.

The SHF estimates it will award at least $500,000 in its next mini-grant round targeted at smaller statewide preservation projects. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to view important dates and guidelines for the next round, learn how to submit a Letter of Intent, and apply for grants before the Feb. 1 deadline via historycolorado.org/state-historical-fund. A full list of projects funded through this round as well as other projects previously funded by the SHF can be found on the website.

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