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Grant program will support historic preservation in the Sewickley Valley

November 20, 2018

The Sewickley Valley Historical Society announced its first-ever matching grant program for historic preservation of structures earlier this month.

According to Executive Director Join Poister, the Sewickley-based nonprofit has awarded grants for historic preservation in the past. But its new Preservation Grant Fund offers a formal application process and up to $10,000 in funds for the 2019 construction season.

For consideration, organizations need to demonstrate they have raised a certain amount of money for a preservation project, Poister said. If the project is a good fit, it could receive a match.

“We think that can be a real boost to a project. Basically, we’re looking at buildings or structures that are either owned or used by nonprofit organizations, and government buildings, too,” Poister said.

Earlier this year, Poister explained, Sewickley Valley Historical Society offered a matching grant to St. Stephen’s Church for exterior work on the Christy House. The Victorian-style home, built in the 1860s, serves lunch on Fridays and contains two gift shops, according to the church’s website. The house is located adjacent to St. Stephen’s.

Mary Beth Pastorius, secretary at Sewickley Valley Historical Society, said her organization has also funded Sewickley Borough’s efforts to erect signage designating three historic districts.

Pastorius, who is part of a Preservation Grant subcommittee that will be reviewing applications, said the new grant program is only for exterior work. However, it applies to all historic structures -- not just buildings, she said.

Applications for the Preservation Grant Fund are due by Dec. 15 and can be accessed on the Sewickley Valley Historical Society’s website. According to Poister, organizations would have one year to complete construction work, if awarded money.

The grant program, Poister said, fulfills one of Sewickley Valley Historical Society’s core missions, to preserve historic structures throughout the entire Sewickley Valley region. Funding for the Preservation Grant has come from many private gifts and endowments over the past couple years, he added.

In addition to a downloadable application, the historical society’s website also contains information on how to support the grant financially. Pastorius said her organization is appealing to the community for contributions and urged people to consider donating.

“If you give us money, we will give it directly back to the community, to better the community,” said Pastorius.

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