Last evening, with two security guards outside the doors of the First Pentecostal Church's meeting hall on Canal Street (brought in by VA contractor Clark/McCarthy), the VA held its monthly neighborhood meeting with residents affected by the project.
Representatives of the State Historic Preservation Office were on hand, based on a request at the last meeting, and they shared the outlines of a rehabilitation grant program for historic buildings in the Mid-City National Register Historic District here in New Orleans (here's a map that gives some rough idea of the district, LSU/VA site is shown in red). The program is being implemented in compliance with the Progammatic Agreement that governs the LSU/VA site preparation.
While the official unveiling of the grant program will take place at the August 8, 2011 meeting of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, here are the basic, tentative details of the grant program as laid out last evening:
- The total pot of funding equals $1.4 million, made up of contributions from the VA, City of New Orleans, and State of Louisiana
- The total amount of funding that will comprise grant awards is approximately $1 million; some of the funding is for administrative overhead, some has gone to help with funding rehab of moved VA houses in the Mid-City district
- The cap on individual grants to property owners will be $20,000 - the amount awarded can be any amount equal to or lower than that
- The grants will be available to any property owners with contributing historic properties in the Mid-City National Register District, but the district will be tiered into three areas: the area below Broad nearest to the hospitals site, the area between Broad and Carrollton, and the area above Carrollton farthest from the hospitals site.
- A panel of reviewers, seemingly SHPO staff, will review applications and give preference based on a variety of factors including which tier the applicant's property is located in (preference to those closest to and most affected by the LSU/VA hospital project). It is not clear whether the panel's deliberations will be open to the public or open for public comment.
- Owners will need to provide a scope of work with an application
- Applications will be due on October 14, 2011
- Awards will start to trickle out in about December 2011
- Owners of historic properties that are not contributing due to a building's disrepair will likely be able to apply for funding for repairs that would result in the building become contributing once again
- It sounds like the "first zone" below Broad Street will receive flyers about the grant via a door-to-door walk around, which is good to hear
- The grant will not be a matching grant; owners are welcome to match the grant amount, but they are in no way required to put up funding to get funding
- SHPO staff will hold a grant workshop for residents on August 23 and may host another at some point in September
Here are the provisions in the PA regarding the mitigation fund and grant program (which outline the amount contributed by the various parties):