Charleston receives grant from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

The city of Charleston received a grant worth more than $3,000 to help educate people about historic preservation.

Nora Pat Small, a history professor at Eastern, with the help of graduate students and the city clerk, acquired the grant and is helping to format educational materials.

Small said she needed to fill out an application to get the grant.

“It’s just a standard application; whoever wants to apply for funds needs to describe the project or projects, the budget and a timeline for completing the budget,” Small said.

Rachael Sapp, a graduate student in the historic administration program, wrote the grant.

As part of the class requirements for one of the graduate classes, students have to write a grant for a cultural institution.

Small said the city clerk helped to get all the information together and helped make sure it was properly finished.

The grant was for Charleston and written for the Charleston Historic Preservation Commission.

Funds from the grant will be used for educational programs and children’s activities, including two kinds of booklets geared toward historic preservation.

One booklet, “Junior Preservationist,” will be geared toward older children and have preservation activities, and the other one will be a children’s preservation activities book, which will have activities geared toward grade school children with puzzles and coloring pages. Trading cards about historic buildings will also be made for people of any age.

Small said learning about preservation gives children a sense of community.

“It helps them understand because the building is right there in front of them,” Small said.

She said preserving the buildings makes it so the children do not just have to pick up a book in order to understand and have respect for the buildings.

“Not that I wouldn’t want them to pick up a book,” Small said.

The idea for the booklets and trading cards came out of a project for the graduate students in the historical administration program that were in a historic preservation course.

“A requirement came up with the program, and these are some of the projects students came up with,” Small said.

The Charleston Historic Preservation Commission is in charge of fulfilling what the grant will be used for and the making of the booklets and trading cards.

Small will edit the cards and booklets.

“I will make sure there are no typos, nothing like that, then it will go to the printer,” she said.

The grant is an Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Certified Local Government Grant.

Charleston was able to apply for the grant because it is a certified local government with a preservation ordinance.

“IHPA has a system by which it certifies local governments with preservation ordinances,” Small said. “Charleston has a preservation ordinance, so it is eligible to apply for funds each year.”

The purpose of the funds is to promote preservation in communities.

City Clerk Deborah Muller said filling out the application to become a certified local government with a preservation ordinance can be quite a process.

“The application itself is 500 pages long,” she said.

The city applied to become a certified local government in 2006.

She said the grant is worth $3,780.

“It is a small grant, but wonderful,” she said.

Other cities that are certified local governments include Atlanta, Belvedere and Chicago.

There are a number of different preservation opportunities.

As a certified local government, Charleston has a historic preservation committee that meets monthly. This committee is always in touch with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Historic Preservation has to do with saving historic environments, and local communities come up for projects and think of fun ways to assist, Small said.

“It helps people learn about what the buildings are, helps them understand the building themselves,” Small said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].