Cost-share grants unexpectedly revived for Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, which technically ended in 2019, unexpectedly relaunched its cost-share grant program and is taking applications for it through late April.

The revival of the program came to light Tuesday with an email from Rhys Martin, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. He also flagged a new grant program from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for historic restaurants.

Kaisa Barthuli, program manager for the federal Route 66 program, stated in an email Wednesday that “we’ve been authorized to continue program operations on a year-to-year basis, subject to year-by-year appropriations,” at the discretion of the National Park Service director and Congress.

That means the grant program could go indefinitely, or end the very next year.

Barthuli estimated about $90,000 in grants would be available.

Applications for the grant-share program, which will match up to 50% of the cost of a project, primarily have been earmarked to preserving “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 educational outreach projects related to the preservation of Route 66.”

The deadline to submit an application is 5 p.m. Mountain time on April 26. More about it can be found here.

Since 2001, the acclaimed program had awarded $2.27 million with $3.57 million in cost-share matches to 152 projects, totaling $5.84 million in public-private investment toward the revitalization and commemoration of Route 66. 

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program originally was supposed to last just 10 years after Congress enacted it in 1999, but it received an extension in 2009 during a severe recession.

The National Trust grant program isn’t meant exclusively for Route 66, but a few restaurants on the historic highway qualify.

More about it:

Our mission: award $1 million in grants to 25 historic and culturally significant restaurants throughout the United States to help them improve, upgrade, and preserve their exterior physical spaces and online businesses. The program has a preference for restaurants owned by underrepresented groups, including People of Color and women, disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.

One can nominate a restaurant for the grant.

(An image of the Hill Top Motel’s neon sign in 2012 in Kingman, Arizona, by el-toro via Flickr. It received a cost-share grant for the sign and its swimming pool in 2019.)

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