Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Perfect Storm: Stimulus Money and Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has mobilized to address issues of historic preservation in light of both the economic downturn and the availability of stimulus money. They're calling it The Perfect Storm.

The perfect storm is created when a flood of new stimulus dollars intended for "shovel-ready" projects hits the ground at the exact same moment when state governments are responding to widespread budget deficits and dreary bottom lines by slashing (or completely turning off) funding for historic preservation programs.

We're definitely feeling it in the state I work in. Our State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is understaffed, and reports are taking a long time to get reviewed (longer than the usual 30-day turnaround). Municipal and state projects have been put on hold. The money is available, but it can't get out. Logjam.

There is some really good information on the Perfect Storm website. Check out the State By State Storm Tracker to see how much stimulus money is heading for your state; then check out the rest of the site to see how to access a slice or two of that pie. Get the money moving to historic preservation and heritage issues (including archaeology!) before the developers convince the governments we're too much of a pain in the ass to bother with in the first place.

Hat Tip: Society for Historical Archaeology for getting the word out.

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