Route 66 preservation funding available

By Emily Kindiger

Preservation Funding Opportunities are available through the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, and work to retain the historical treasures across Route 66 continues.

Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Melvena Heisch said the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is providing financial assistance with its cost-share grants. This began more than 10 years ago and funds support preservation, research, planning and educational projects for properties on the historic route.

Individuals, nonprofits, businesses and beyond can apply for these “competitive” grants which require a “50/50 match” in funding, she said.

“There is a wide range of things that can be done” with the money, Heisch said, and many communities have utilized the funding to preserve, restore and rehabilitate their historic sites.

She said Tulsa used a cost-share grant to work on the façade of its Historic Circle Theatre as well as the saving and restoration of its Meadow Gold sign. Heisch said Stroud used the grant for work on its Rock Café.

“Even our office used it,” she said, when they utilized a grant to do survey work and nominations for the 72 properties on Oklahoma’s Route 66 Mobile Tour.

Cost-share grants “supplement the funding the property owner has to do the project,” Heisch said. “It also gives some incentive to do the work appropriately,” abiding by the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

“There are lots of opportunities in El Reno for this grant,” said El Reno’s City Planner Matt Sandidge.

Sandidge said currently the city is not participating but “certainly it’s something we’d be interested in.

“El Reno has many unique businesses and features,” Sandidge said. “There are a lot of historic features, especially on 66. Quite a few places that have been around a long time and that are unique to the area.”

For more information about the Route 66 Corridor Cost-Share Grants, visit www.cr.nps.gov/rt66/grnts.

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