Revitalizing Montana's Rural Heritage (RMRH) Grants

In 2019, the National Park Service (NPS) Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program granted the Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) funding to establish the RMRH. RMRH is a reimbursement grant available to rural property owners (properties in communities under 50,000 population as defined by the US Census Bureau) for the rehabilitation and repair of historic properties. RMRH’s goal is to not only preserve significant cultural resources, but also foster economic development in Montana’s rural communities.

RMRH will provide substantial financial support to historically-sensitive preservation projects in the form of reimbursement grants. From a total pool of $350,000, RMRH will grant between $10,000 and $100,000 to selected projects in rural communities statewide. RMRH will support projects that will revitalize community anchors - properties that will in turn serve as catalysts for economic stability and growth in their communities.

All grant-funded treatments must comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

The RMRH program is supported through a grant from the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.

RMRH has a two-part application process.

PART 1

Part 1 is a screening form on which applicants provide a project description, answers to short essay questions, a preliminary budget, and other basic information.

Part 1 applications, available below, will be scored according to the RMRH criteria. SHPO will invite selected applicants to submit Part 2 applications.

PART 2

Applicants invited to complete a Part 2 application will provide more detailed project information.  RMRH’s review committee will score Part 2 applications based on the grant criteria SHPO will notify all Part 2 applicants of the success of their application, or otherwise. SHPO will establish grant agreements (contracts) with successful applicants.

Application Due Date (Part 1): January 6, 2020

Part 1 applications must be postmarked by January 6, 2020.  Late and incomplete application packages will not be accepted.

Anticipated Start Date and Term of Agreement for Funded Projects:

Projects receiving funding through RMRH may start once funding has been secured, awards have been made, and plans and specifications have been approved by SHPO and NPS. No work done prior to an agreement is eligible for reimbursement. Do not anticipate a start date for work expenses that would be reimbursed under this grant sooner than late Spring 2020.

Agreement terms for funded projects are estimated to range between eighteen months and two years, depending on the negotiated project statement of work. Agreements are not effective until fully executed with signature from SHPO.

Grant Agreement:

Grantees will be required to enter into a grant agreement with the State of Montana (SHPO) pursuant to the funded project.

Cost Share:

Non-federal cost share is required at a ratio of at least 60:40, meaning for every $60 of RMRH funds, the applicant must show $40 in cash or in-kind match funding. To figure the minimum match for a given grant amount, use the following formula:

Step 1:  grant amount / [divided by] 0.6 = total project cost

Step 2:  total project cost – [minus] grant amount = minimum match. 

For example, if you are requesting $20,000:  

Step one:  $20,000 / 0.6 = $33,333.33

Step two:  $33,333.33 - $20,000 = $13,333.33. 

$13,333 would be the minimum match amount.

The following table provides examples of the minimum match required at various cost levels.

RMRH Grant Amount (60%)

Minimum Matching Amount (40%)

Total Project Cost

$50,000

$33,333

$83,333

$25,000

$16,667

$41,667

$20,000

13,333

$33,333

$15,000

$10,000

$25,000

$10,000

$6,667

$16,667

Overview:

Eligibility Information

Eligible Applicants

In accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act as amended, 54 USC §300101, this funding opportunity is limited to:

  • Public Entities (except federal agencies)
  • 501-C3 Non-Profit Organizations, including churches and church-owned property
  • Private Individuals and For-Profit Businesses

Ineligible Applicants

  • Federal agencies and federally-owned property

Eligible Project Properties

  • Properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places (individually listed and contributors within historic districts)
  • Properties not listed in the National Register, but determined eligible for listing through the RMRH application process.
  • Properties located in areas defined as rural by the U.S. Census Bureau (less than 50,000) https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/

Allowable Costs

All costs must be directly associated with a project that results in the physical restoration/rehabilitation of a historic property that will be completed in compliance with the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and within the grant period. 

  • Planning and permits costs may be included in the overall project budget, but only as component parts of the project.  RMRH-funded projects must be “bricks and mortar” preservation projects, not stand-alone planning projects.
  • Supplies and materials costs necessary to complete the project.  [Equipment is not allowable (see below).]
  • Labor costs related to physical construction and/or conservation.  All contractors must be chosen through a competitive procurement process.
  • Consultant fees:  Examples include historic preservation consultants, architects, engineers, conservators, etc. necessary to complete the rehabilitation project within the grant period.  All consultants must be chosen through a competitive procurement process.
  • Administrative costs directly associated with RMRH grant management, such as time spent preparing reports.
  • Costs incurred to comply with the requirements of the grant, such as project insurance costs during the grant period, worksite site signs (see below), National Register nomination preparation, etc.
  • Travel directly tied to the grant assisted project and necessary to complete the project.
  • Construction associated with accessibility issues, such as ADA compliance, when that construction is a component of a larger preservation project and falls within the footprint of the historic building/structure/object.

What Is Not Funded

  • Landscaping or project costs associated with activities outside the footprint of the historic building/structure/object.
  • Construction of new buildings or additions.
  • Projects to rehabilitate/repair private residences. (RMRH funds are not intended for home-improvement projects. While some housing projects, such as apartment buildings and upper-story housing units in commercial buildings, will be considered, projects intended to restore, revitalize, or repair private individuals’ residences are ineligible.)
  • Acquisition of collections or historic sites
  • Conservation of collections
  • Equipment, i.e. anything costing over $5,000 with an estimated useful life of more than one year, such as construction tools and machinery not integral to the long-term function of the building/structure/object.  Equipment should not be confused with construction materials, such as concrete, roofing, electrical supplies, etc.  Construction materials are allowable.
  • Long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period
  • Reconstructing historic properties (recreating all or a significant portion that no longer exists)
  • Moving a property or work on moved historic properties that are no longer eligible for listing in the NRHP
  • Cash reserves, endowments, revolving funds, or fund-raising costs
  • Work performed prior to announcement of award
  • Lobbying or advocacy activities
  • Costs for work already completed or funded through other federal programs
  • Miscellaneous costs, contingencies, reserves, and overhead, except for bonding, permitting, and National Register nomination costs
  • Indirect costs

Other Information:

  • All work on projects funded with RMRH funds must comply with the Secretary of Interior Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties whether or not all work is funded with RMRH dollars. This is true of work that is complete at the time of the RMRH application.
  • Any historic property receiving assistance through the program will be required to place a preservation covenant/easement/agreement on the property ranging from 5 to 20 years determined by the grant amount, to protect the federal investment and the property’s historic characteristics.
  • Any historic property receiving assistance not listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR) will be required to prepare and submit a nomination to the NPS, in order for the property to be listed before the end of the grant project. The cost of hiring a professional historian to prepare the NR nomination is allowable under the RMRH program. SHPO encourages applicants to contract with experienced professionals with experience writing successful National Register nominations.
  • Preparation of architectural/engineering plans and specifications may not exceed 20% of the total project cost.
  • Projects funded under this program constitute “undertakings” as defined by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, 54 U.S.C. 306108. Accordingly, after the grant is awarded, the National Park Service and SHPO will work with the grantee to complete the consultation process prior to receiving funds from their grant account. Depending on the project, additional federal and state reviews may be required under other laws including but not limited to, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the Montana Antiquities Act, and the Montana Environmental Protection Act (MEPA).
  • Worksites must have a sign visible and legible from the public right-of-way acknowledging the National Park Service’s Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program paid for through the Historic Preservation Fund; and the Montana Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation Office. A template will be provided and sign design and text must be pre-approved by NPS and SHPO.

For more information about the grant program, click the “RMRH Criteria and Guidelines” link below.

RMRH Criteria and Guidelines

Download the application instructions and the fillable Part 1 application form by clicking on the links below.

RMRH Application Instructions

RMRH Part 1 Application Form (Download and save this form before completing it.)

Owner Concurrence to National Register Listing

Questions?  Please contact SHPO at RMRHSHPO@mt.gov.

This material was produced with assistance from the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.