The City of Sedalia has been selected from a nationwide pool to be one of 11 communities to be awarded the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant in the amount of $750,000.

A public announcement was made Wednesday afternoon at Main and Osage by Mayor Andrew Dawson and Community Development Director John Simmons.

“Our goal with these funds is to develop a subgrant program that will treat all applicants equitably, fairly, and maximize the use of these funds. This grant builds upon the years of programs and efforts to revitalize our downtown,” said Mayor Dawson.

“It is my firm belief that being able to fund several projects at once when overlaid with the momentum already built will benefit the entire district and city. This kind of boost completely changes the possibilities and outlook for the heart of our community, our historic downtown,” the Mayor said in his prepared remarks.
Dawson recognized Simmons for his tireless dedication to historic preservation and his passion for our community.

“Without his hard work and dedication, the heart of our community, our historic downtown would not be what it is to today and our future would most certainly not be as bright as it is,” Dawson stated.

Simmons spoke with KSIS about the grant.

“Well, it's been one of the biggest questions over my career in Sedalia since 1995, is 'are there any funds available to help me with my building?' the answer has always been 'well you can get tax credits' well that's a process, that's still a tool we have. But there's never been a 'yes' to that question. We now have a 'yes.' There are funds available to help you with your roof, or your facade restoration, or your storefront,” Simmons explained.

“We are now able to help, as long as that project helps the economy of the City and downtown,” Simmons noted.

The grant writing took three weeks with a lot of research.

“Jefferson City was awarded this last year, that's why I found out about it,” Simmons said. “I heard about it, and I'm like, well if they got it, why can't we?”

Jeff City used their grant money to rebuild from terrible tornado damage that occurred May 22, 2019.

The tornado damaged 516 residential buildings, 82 commercial buildings and 30 government buildings, according to a July 2019 report released by Jefferson City and Cole County officials.

“Let's see if they (the Feds) understand our district. I think also at the national level, we've had attention with our statewide conference that was here a couple of years ago. We had people from national that were here. They saw our downtown, they know who we are. They understand where we're going. So I think all of things have built up to this point. They see us, they know we're here, and they said, 'yeah this is a good project.'” Simmons told KSIS.

“The next step is getting a grant agreement approved through the National Park Service and our City Council. They will forward the documents for that to me in late June. Once that's approved, then we will write the program and the application process, and open it up, probably in late July or early August, to property owners. We expect it will take about three years for all these projects to complete,” Simmons.

He estimated there may be up to seven projects that will eventually come to fruition as a result of the grant money.

“It all depends on who comes forward with (ideas),” Simmons noted, adding that the economics of the project will be a factor in deciding who partakes in the grant money. “It's not just an out-and-out grant (for the property owners), they are participating with their money as well.”

The application process will be a competitive one, Simmons promised, adding that “a lot of thought and brain power” has gone into this project since January.

The National Park Service recently announced $7.275 million in Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants to 11 recipients in 10 states to support economic development through the preservation of historic buildings in rural communities across the US.

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