Texas Preservation Trust Fund Grant Program Overview

Texans have inherited a wide array of historic architecture and archeological sites that reflect the diversity of all those who have called Texas home. The most serious problem facing historic preservation in Texas is the rapid deterioration and destruction of thousands of Texas' historic and pre-historic sites. To meet this challenge, the 71st Texas Legislature established the Texas Preservation Trust Fund (TPTF) in 1989. The fund is currently managed by the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company. TPTF investment earnings are distributed as matching grants to qualified applicants for the acquisition, survey, restoration, preservation or for the planning and educational activities leading to the preservation of historic architectural and archeological properties and associated collections of the State of Texas. Competitive grants are awarded on a one-to-one match basis and are paid as reimbursement of eligible expenses incurred during the project.

Applications will be available each year to public or private entities for projects involving eligible historic properties, sites or projects. There are two steps in the grant application process. First, all applicants are required to submit brief application forms for the THC to review prior to each year’s deadline. The THC will select the highest priority projects from the initial applications and invite those applicants to move forward to the second step. Successful applicants will continue the process by submitting detailed project proposals and budgets. Full project proposals will be considered by the Commission as per the grant cycle calendar. The exact timetable will be published on the THC website as grant cycles are announced.

The Texas Preservation Trust Fund grant program is an opportunity to save and protect Texas' threatened historic structures and significant archeological sites. For additional information and to be placed on the grant application announcement mailing list, please contact the Texas Historical Commission, Architecture Division, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, TX, 78711, 512.463.6094.

New Program Policy

  1. Multiple Grant Request: An applicant may submit no more than one application per grant cycle. The same eligible property or project may receive no more than two consecutive grants and no more than three grants within the span of five grant cycles. “Eligible property or project” is defined in the Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Part 2, Chapter 17, Texas Preservation Trust Fund, Rule § 17.1 (i) and as used herein relates to a single historic property or collection of related historic properties, such as a college campus; a site, such as an archeological site; a collection of artifacts; or an event, including reoccurring annual events. Different scopes of work at the same historic property will be considered the same project. “Grant cycle” refers to non-emergency grant cycles only, and emergency grants will not be counted in considering whether a project is eligible to apply for funding. Prior grant awards must be complete, or an applicant must demonstrate good progress on an active grant in order to apply in subsequent grant cycles. Funds earmarked for a particular project are not subject to these limitations.
  2. Minimum Score: An overall score of 73 points or higher out of 110 total points possible is the funding cutoff for grants in the FY 2020 and subsequent grant rounds. Grant applications that receive a score below this threshold will not be recommended for funding. Applications receiving this score or higher are not guaranteed to receive a grant due to limitations on the amount of funding available. 
  3. Courthouses: Courthouses eligible to participate in the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP) program are ineligible to apply for TPTF funding. To be eligible to participate in the THCPP program, a building must serve or have served as a county courthouse, be owned by county or city government, be at least 50 years of age or certified as worthy of preservation, and have a current master plan approved by the THC to which grant funding would relate. In emergency situations, courthouses eligible for THCPP grants may apply for TPTF grants when the timing is more advantageous to address the emergency. Courthouses that do not yet have approvedmaster plans may apply for TPTF grants for projects other than preparation of a master plan. Former county courthouses in private or nonprofit ownership remain eligible to apply for TPTF grants.
  4. Private Residences: While private property owners are eligible to apply for grant funds, public benefit (such as open access and public use of the property) is a key consideration in grant scoring as part of the Project Viability category.

Guidelines

I.    Types of Preservation Grants

Preservation grants can be awarded only for these types of architecture and archeology projects:

A.   Development ("preservation," "restoration," "rehabilitation," and "reconstruction," as defined by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, 1995) architecture costs include professional fees to supervise actual construction, the costs of construction, and related expenses approved by the Commission; or archeology costs necessary for stabilizing or repairing damage sustained at an archeological site or for protective measures; or

B.   Acquisition of absolute ownership of eligible historic resources and related costs and professional fees; or

C.   Planning costs necessary for the preparation of property specific historic structure reports, historic or cultural resource reports, preservation plans, maintenance studies, resource surveys, local and regional preservation plans or surveys, and/or feasibility studies; or for professional inventory and/or rehabilitation of state associated held-in-trust archeological collections, professional archeological investigation for site assessment or data collection purposes and the subsequent analysis and reporting of those results to address specific and significant archeological issues to aid with archeological site planning; or

D.  Heritage Education costs necessary for training individuals and organizations about historic resources and historic preservation techniques.

II.  Requirements for Eligibility

A.  Project/Property Information

To be considered eligible for grant assistance projects including buildings/structures, landscapes or archeological sites must have a required historic designation or be eligible to receive one.

B.  Applicants Eligible to Receive Grant Assistance

Preservation grants can be made to any public or private entity that is the owner, manager, lessee, maintainer, potential purchaser of an eligible property, or any public or private entity whose purpose includes historic preservation. If applicant is not the owner of the historic property, then the owner must be aware of the application and agree to follow all rules and conditions of the THC that are required for receipt of funds for development or planning projects.

C.  Eligible Match for Grant Assistance

Applicants eligible to receive grant assistance must provide a minimum of one dollar in matching cash to each state dollar for approved project costs.

D.  Project Proposals

To be considered for grant funding, the commission will select initial applicants to submit detailed project proposals. The project proposal consists of professional documents describing in detail how the proposed work will be carried out. A qualified professional should prepare the project proposal and all project proposals for acquisition, development and planning must be consistent with preservation standards (Architecture: The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, 1995; Archeology: Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation, 1983, as appropriate; Curatorial: Consistent with standards outlined in Curatorial Facility Certification Program).The project proposal must be reviewed and selected for grant funding by the THC prior to any construction work being undertaken.

E.  Easement

All acquisition and development projects will be required to grant an easement to ensure the long-term preservation of the grant-assisted property. However, archeological sites are exempt from the easement if the site is designated a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) or if there is an existing conservation easement equivalent to the program requirements. The easement shall run with the land and be enforceable by the State of Texas, and its duration will be based upon the cumulative amount of grant assistance as follows:

  • less than $10,000 - 10 years from the start of the easement
  • $10,000 - $30,000 - 15 years from the start of the easement
  • $30,001 - $50,000 - 20 years from the start of the easement
  • Greater than $50,000 - 30 years from the start of the easement