Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants
PHMC provides funding for construction activities through its Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants with revenue from the Commonwealth's Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. Funding is available to nonprofit organizations and local governments for small construction projects for publicly accessible historic resources. (Private property owners are not eligible for funding under this program and may wish to refer directly to Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit Program for information on historic tax credits.)
The purpose of the grant is to support projects that rehabilitate, restore, or preserve historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. These guidelines address only construction-related activities. Please review the separate guidelines for the Keystone Historic Preservation Planning Grants for information pertaining to the preservation projects.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission also annually uses a portion of the realty transfer tax revenue to rehabilitate and maintain Commonwealth-owned historic sites and museums.
Guidelines for Applicants
The basic guidelines and general conditions for the Construction Grant program are:
- Competitive application process based on publicly available evaluation criteria
- All applications must be prepared on DCED's Electronic Single Application for Assistance.
- Eligible applicants are limited to non-profit organizations and local governments.
- Eligible applicants may apply for and receive either one construction-related OR planning-related grant (not both)
- Historic resource must be located in Pennsylvania and documented as being listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
- Minimum Award $5,000
- Maximum Award $100,000
- Funding requests require a 50/50 CASH match
- Funding is available in the categories of:
- Projects must meet goals and objectives of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Plan
- Grant supported project expenditures cannot begin until the successful applicant has received a fully executed Grant Agreement
- Project related expenses are reimbursable; successful applicants need to maintain an adequate CASH match to ensure completion of their project within the grant period.
For more information about the Keystone Grant Program, please view these webinars on PHMC's YouTube channel:
Application Deadline - March 1, 2023
All applications must be completed by March 1, 2023 on DCED's Single Application for Assistance. For additional assistance with the Electronic Single Application for Assistance system, please contact DCED's Customer Service at (866) 466-3972, email@example.com, or https://dced.pa.gov/contact-us/.
Applicants are no longer required to mail a hard copy of the supporting application and documents to the PHMC.
If the applicant is selected for funding, their project period will extend from the date of execution of the grant agreement, approximately October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2025. No work completed prior to the execution of the grant agreement will be eligible for reimbursement.
Levels of Funding
Requests for funding to the Historic Preservation Construction Grants may range from $5,000 (for $10,000 projects) to $100,000 (for projects of $200,000 and over) and require a 50/50 CASH match. The Commission may, at its discretion, consider applications for grants under $5,000 and may approve partial funding for larger requests. The Commission may also at its discretion direct
additional funding, if available, to current grantees in emergency situations,
such as flooding or structural failure, without exceeding the program’s maximum
level of funding.
Grants require a 50/50 CASH match in funds. Sources of the CASH match may include direct organizational funds or grant awards from private foundations, federal programs, or other state agencies. Salaries or wages paid to employees of the applicant are not considered to be cash contributions and cannot be included as matching funds! Although the cash match need not be secured when the application is made, evidence that the organization or municipality already has their match will be considered positively in the evaluation process. Applications that already have a full or partial cash match show an investment on behalf of the organization and demonstrate institutional capacity for the successful completion of the project within the grant period. In-kind contributions may not be used to satisfy the matching requirement.
Maximum Number of Awards
Eligible applicants may apply for only a Keystone Historic Preservation Planning Grant OR a Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grant, not both. Please note that the application due dates for both applications are March 1, 2023. Applicants meeting the relevant eligibility requirements may also apply for support through the Certified Local Government Grant Program.
Availability of Funds
Grant awards are subject to the annual availability of funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Funding is based on the state fiscal year, July through June.
Who May Apply
Nonprofit organizations and public agencies that own or support a publicly accessible historic property listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places, or that own or support a contributing historic property in a National Register Historic District may apply for grant assistance. Please check with the grant manager to confirm organizational eligibility.
- Certified Local Governments*
- Colleges and Universities
- Historic Preservation Organizations
- Historical Societies
- Local Governments
- Religious Institutions
- Other historical organizations
- Museums and historic sites that are owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission but operated by independent nonprofit organizations.
- Multipurpose Organizations. Individual subunits (e.g. Moravian Pottery and Tile Works) within multipurpose government (e.g. County of Bucks) or tax-exempt organizations may apply for grants if they function as a discrete unit within the parent organization. A subunit that is part of a larger organization will be deemed eligible if:
- The unit has administrative autonomy for its operations;
- The unit has a fully segregated and itemized operating budget within that of the parent organization;
- The unit is able to separately and distinctly fulfill all eligibility and application requirements as defined in these guidelines.
More than one qualified subunit within a multipurpose organization may apply for funding during the same grant cycle.
* Certified Local Governments and Applicants located within a CLG receive special consideration as part of the evaluation process. Applicants must identify the CLG and include a letter of support from their official CLG contact person or local elected official.
Who May Not Apply
Organizations and others that are not eligible to apply include:
- Museums and historic sites operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission;
- Associate groups at museums and historic sites operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission;
- Management groups at museums and historic sites owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission;
- Museums and historic sites operated by state or federal government agencies;
- Associate groups at museums and historic sites operated by state or federal government agencies;
- Commonwealth-assisted libraries (Grants are available through the Department of Education.);
- For-profit organizations or corporations;
- State government;
- Federal government; and
Additional Eligibility Requirements
To apply for a Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grant, an organization must meet the following requirements:
- Must be located in Pennsylvania
- Must have tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Service or entity of local government;
- Must be incorporated and serving the public for at least five (5) consecutive years prior to the submission of the application; and
- Must be registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State: Bureau of Charitable Organizations, as required. Information may be obtained by writing Bureau of Charitable Organizations, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State, P.O. Box 8723, Harrisburg, PA 17105 or by calling (800) 732-0999.
The property for which funds are requested must meet the following requirements:
- Must be located in Pennsylvania;
- Must be documented as being listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a contributing property in a National Register Historic District (Applications that do not include appropriate documentation from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office will not be eligible for funding.);
- Must be open and accessible to the public on a regular basis, not less than 100 days per year. (If it is not currently accessible to the public, the applicant must include detailed plans to open the property to the public as a result of the grant.)
There are a number of general conditions for Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants.
- All grant assisted construction work must meet the Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties".
- Preservation covenants are required on all properties receiving funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The covenant is a formal agreement between the PHMC and the grantee in which the grantee agrees to ensure the maintenance and preservation of the architectural and historical characteristics that qualify the property as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The covenant is in place for a period of up to fifteen years and requires the owner to contact the PHMC for review and approval prior to the commencement of any substantial construction that may adversely affect the property's eligibility for the National Register.
- Work cannot begin until the successful applicant has received a copy of a fully executed Grant Agreement.
- Project or design work must be initiated within forty-five days of the date that the fully executed Grant Agreement is sent to the grantee.
- Grantees may be required to abide by the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act if the estimated cost of project work exceeds $25,000 and is supported by any public funds. Grantees are advised to seek legal counsel to determine whether the Act applies.
Categories of Support
There are three categories of support defined in the following paragraphs. Examples of eligible projects, interior or exterior, are provided after the definitions and apply to all three categories.
The act or process of applying measures necessary to sustain the existing form, integrity and materials of a historic property. Work, including preliminary measures to protect and stabilize the property, generally focuses upon the ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features rather than extensive replacement and new construction. New exterior additions are not within the scope of this treatment but are subject to review if associated with the
overall project; however, the limited and sensitive upgrading of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and other code required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a preservation project.
The act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural and architectural values.
The act or process of accurately depicting the form, features and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and other code related work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project.
Work may be interior or exterior. Specific examples of fundable project work include the following:
- Site work - subsurface investigation, selective demolition, drainage and restoration of designed landscapes and gardens;
- Concrete - poured-in-place concrete, precast concrete, concrete restoration and cleaning;
- Masonry - brick or stone repair or replacement, repointing mortar joints and cleaning;
- Metals - structural metal framing and metal restoration or replacement;
- Wood and Plastics - rough and finish carpentry, architectural woodwork and millwork;
- Thermal and Moisture Protection - roofing, flashing, waterproofing, damp proofing and insulation;
- Doors and Windows - repair and restoration, frame repair, replacement and hardware;
- Finishes - lath and plaster repair, gypsum wallboard, ceramic tile, wood paneling, floors and painting;
- Conveying Systems - elevators;
- Mechanical - plumbing, fire protection systems, heating, cooling and air distribution;
- Electrical - service, distribution and lighting; and
- Accessibility improvements for people with disabilities.
Keystone Historic Preservation Construction Grants may not be used to fund the following:
- Mitigation activities performed as a condition or precondition for obtaining a state or federal permit or license;
- New construction and additions;
- Reconstruction such as recreating a building or landscape;
- Projects whose entire scope of work consists solely of routine or cyclical maintenance;
- Landscaping as part of non-historic site improvements including parking lots, sidewalks, etc.;
- Archaeological excavations (Archaeology that is undertaken as part of a rehabilitation project to mitigate ground disturbing activities such as site work or foundation repair is eligible for reimbursement.);
- Projects which consist only of predevelopment work such as historic structure reports or construction documents (eligible activity under the Keystone Historic Preservation Project Program); and
- Acquisition of historic properties and/or land.
Grant Period and Implementation Timetable
Deadline for Applications March 1, 2023.
PHMC Approves Panel Recommendations
Award/Rejection Letters and Grant Agreements Mailed to Applicants
Project Start Date/Fully Executed Grant Agreement
January 1, 2024
Quarterly report due
April 1, 2024
Quarterly report due
July 1, 2024
Quarterly report due
October 1, 2024
Quarterly report due
January 1, 2025
Quarterly report due
April 1, 2025
Quarterly report due
July 1, 2025
Quarterly report due
September 30, 2025
Project End Date/Final Reports Due
Successful applicants must complete their projects within a twenty-four (24) month period. Applicants are required to submit both Quarterly and Final Reports as well as appropriate work products. Projects will generally not be extended beyond the twenty-four (24) month implementation period. There are a few situations in which the grantee may petition the Commission for additional time to complete the project.
For program information, please email Karen Arnold, program manager or call (717) 783-9927.
Download the Keystone Construction Grants fact sheet.