Historic Preservation Network to hire revolving fund strategy consultant

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From MHPN report

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) was recently notified that they are the recipients of a $19,000 grant from The 1772 Foundation.  This grant will fund a consultant to help on developing a revolving fund strategy for MHPN. 

The goal of the project is to establish a program that would eventually reach into each of Michigan’s 83 counties, both as a Revolving Fund, where buildings are rehabilitated with funds from MHPN and then sold to fund the next property, and as a series of low- or no-interest loans.  It is MHPN’s goal to consider any type of building, commercial or residential, industrial or recreational, but with specific selection made under the guidance of the MHPN Preservation Incentives Committee and MHPN Staff.  The first building selected to take part in the program, will be the Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station (originally the North End Rest Rooms, located at 313 East Grand River Avenue), purchased by MHPN in 2011 from the City of Lansing. 

Work funded by the grant will result in new ideas, partnerships, resources, and a practical plan of action. The establishment of a Revolving Fund has been a goal of MHPN for years.   “With The 1772 Foundation grant everything has changed,” said Nancy Finegood, MHPN Executive Director.  “This appears to be one of the first grants given by The 1772 Foundation in this part of the country. We are excited to be able to use the funds to further our mission in the rehabilitation of Michigan’s historic places while developing the economic vitality and sense of place that are so important in our state.” 

Finegood went on, “This grant will enable MHPN to consider the long term potential of a Revolving Fund, and assist to strengthen our role in preventing the unnecessary loss of historic resources and further degradation of important commercial and residential neighborhoods.”  MHPN plans to use this program strategically to positively impact not only the buildings included directly in the program, but those whose rehabilitation will serve as an economic driver for their communities.  Studies have shown that by restoring a key building, entire neighborhoods, and communities can rally around the positive action. 

The long sought Revolving Fund will also bring increased credibility to the MHPN.  “For 31 years the organization has advocated for historic properties in the state,” explained Janet Kreger, MHPN President, “but the actual restoration of buildings that are then sold to fund the next project will have the double benefit of saving a historic building and giving the MHPN the ability to talk about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the historic preservation movement.”  Kreger continued saying, “while many of our members, including those who form the 25 person board, have personal ‘hands-on’ experience in restoring historic properties, this is the first time MHPN will be in a position as an organization to take this step.” 

MHPN plans to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), seeking a qualified consultant to work with staff and committee leadership to develop the Revolving Loan Fund implementation plan.