Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Delano Village Hall chosen to receive Historical Society grant
July 12, 2010

City to review grant documents at meeting July 20

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

DELANO, MN – The old Delano Village Hall was one of 56 projects chosen to receive grant funding through the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants recently.

The grants, distributed across the state, continue to provide much-needed funds to organizations.

The Minnesota Historical Society announced the 56 recipients of mid-size and large grants for fiscal year 2011 Tuesday morning.

More than 35 communities throughout Minnesota will benefit from the grants, including Delano, according to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Locally, $42,140 was awarded to the City of Delano to remove brick infill and restore the exterior doors of the Delano Village Hall, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Delano Village Hall was constructed in 1888, as the main municipal building in the community, according to the city. At that time, it housed the fire station, municipal offices, and police station, and served as a meeting space.

Over time, the building has transitioned to meet the needs of the community – serving as a library, dance hall, historic preservation space, and central icon to the downtown area.

In 2007, the City of Delano commissioned a structural analysis of the Delano Village Hall to determine the long-term viability of the building, according to Assistant to the City Administrator Luke Fischer.

“This study found the building to be of good structural integrity, though in need of some critical improvements,” Fischer said.

The City of Delano received its first grant dollars to renovate the Delano Village Hall in 2008, through a Minnesota Historical Society capital grant-in-aid, which allowed for roof replacement and the installation of a fire suppression system.

At the beginning of 2010, the city commissioned an architect to help guide further rehabilitation of the space, Fischer said.

The outcome of this process was a planned five-phase improvement schedule that could be spaced out over grant funding cycles.

The city applied for Minnesota Legacy funding through the Minnesota Historical Society to fully address the first phase of improvements, which would completely renovate the first floor of the building.

Due to the high demand for grant funding, the city was granted about half of its original request and was directed to use the funds on a portion of its first phase to remove brick infill where the old fire doors once stood. Plans call for replica doors to be installed. This project has a mandated completion date of June 1, 2011, Fischer said.

The Delano City Council will consider the grant documents, proposed project timeline, and project details at its regular meeting Tuesday, July 20.

The city will be required to match a portion of the funds as part of the project, Fischer added.

The city will continue to seek grant funding to offset the cost of building rehabilitation.

“To date, the city has received over $90,000 in funding from state resources,” Fischer said.

Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants are made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment by the vote of Minnesotans Nov. 4, 2008.

The amendment supports efforts to preserve Minnesota land, water, and legacy, including our state’s history and cultural heritage.

“With the response we have received from organizations throughout the state, it’s clear just how important these grants are for preserving our historic and cultural resources,” said Britta Bloomberg, deputy state historic preservation officer. “This second round of mid-size and large grants spans a wide variety of projects, from preserving historic properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, to supporting local museums around the state, to documenting the experience of Minnesotans through oral history.”

Each Historical and Cultural Grant project will preserve and enhance Minnesota’s cultural and historical resources.

The latest round of recipients include mid-size grants ranging from $7,000 to $50,000, and large grants, which are more than $50,000. Grants are available for history and historic preservation projects in three tiers: small or “fast track” grants of $7,000 or less, mid-size grants between $7,000 and $50,000, and large grants of more than $50,000.

The Historical Society received a 2009 Legislative appropriation to award a total of $6.75 million in Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.

“The grants provide an unprecedented opportunity for non-profit and educational organizations, government units and tribal organizations to preserve and share the state’s history and cultural heritage,” according to the Historical Society.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849.

Its essence is to help illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future.

The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.

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