The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is now taking applications for cost-share grants through March 29 for its 2013 season.
The grant program’s purpose is:
… to support the preservation of the most significant and representative historic Route 66 buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes in the eight states through which the route passes. Assistance is also provided to support research, planning, oral history, and education outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66.
The program has awarded grants annually since 2001. It’s given out a total of almost $1.7 million for more than 110 grants. A few grants kept historic Route 66 structures from crumbling into the dust. Others have made Route 66 businesses more viable by restoring their historic neon signs, replacing obsolete roofs, or acquiring more efficient climate-control systems. You can read more about the program here.
The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program runs on a shoestring compared to other agencies. Yet it’s provided a lot of goodwill, publicity, and small-business support. And, as the recently released Route 66 Economic Impact Study showed, historic preservation is “a reasonably comparable, if not superior, economic pump primer” when measured against new construction and infrastructure spending such as highways.
If you own a historic Route 66 business that needs improvements, I urge you to apply. Even if you’re reluctant to do the paperwork, the program’s directors might be able to direct you to others in your state or region who can help.