Hi! I’m Dr. Daryn Reyman-Lock, and I am a historic preservation specialist. Part of my job is working with owners of historic buildings to help make preservation and, oftentimes, restoration a financially feasible possibility. It is difficult to be a steward of a historic structure, especially as an individual homeowner, but there are options to help make the potential financial burden of historic structure stewardship easier, especially if the owner is a non-profit foundation.
BeFoundation purchased the Granite Church in 2022 and, when doing so, sought an abbreviated form of assessment. They hired two different firms to assess potential issues with the external walls (the building envelope) and some of the more obvious issues internally which stemmed from water infiltration during large rain events. However, while some of these issues were addressed, it was important during these initial phases of planning to get a better understanding of some of the difficulties and building issues that might be faced down the line. As a result, we submitted an application to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for a Survey and Planning Grant.
The grant was approved! The Granite Church officially earned its first grant, which will help us continue the process of revitalizing this unique space for the community.
Survey and Planning Grants enable non-profits and municipalities to access monies that can aid in historic preservation and associated planning including National, State, or Local Historic Designations, Archaeological Preserves, historic structure reports, structural analyses, adaptive reuse studies, architectural plans, and, in the case of the Granite Church, conditions assessments.
To secure this grant, BeFoundation had to submit a Survey and Planning Grant application which detailed not only the history of the organization and supplied an overview of the Church’s history, but also outlined what needed to be done and why and how this would benefit both BeFoundation and users of the space. The grant requires a 1:1 match, so for the $20,000 awarded by SHPO, BeFoundation will match with a $20,000 investment of their own, to make a total of $40,000 for the project.
Once contracts were signed between BeFoundation and SHPO, we wrote a Request for Proposals (RFP) which we posted publicly and are using to solicit bids from at least three firms we were interested in hearing from specifically. The conditions assessment must be completed by a qualified architect or architectural firm and will be used to inform future construction plans. In particular, the bell tower and mortar need to be examined, as does the roof of the building which may need replacing. The conditions assessment will also provide an understanding of whether the structural system is intact and in good condition and give ideas for how best to maintain integrity while being conscious of how to restore the building to historic standards.
This grant and the subsequent conditions assessment will allow BeFoundation to make this space usable to its fullest potential for the community. It will help us understand its earlier history and construction, and provide valuable feedback on how best to alter the interior while preserving the historic character which adds so much charm to Georgetown.