PreservINg Main Street
The Preserving Main Street Pilot program was catalyzed by Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) in partnership with Indiana Landmarks, and Indiana Humanities to pilot a multi-faceted community development program designed to build a sustainable historic preservation ethic, build local capacity for the local Brookville Main Street, Inc. and serve as a comprehensive downtown revitalization model. The Town of Brookville was selected as one of two pilot communities to implement downtown preservation projects through OCRA’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
The CDBG portion of the pilot program was divided into two phases. Phase 1 is the Planning Study. The building that were a part of the Planning study were chosen from over 50 applications, after a thorough review and scoring by an independent scoring committee. The committee based their recommendations on commercial properties that were non-residential in the historic inventory ratings, current façade integrity, building visibility from gateway entrances, contribution to Main Street vision and commitment of owner funds. The planning phase will study the selected buildings to develop schematic design documents for façades along with recommended improvements/upgrades and cost estimates for said improvements. The recommendation will follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and will go through a Section 106 review with the Department of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the State Historic Preservation Office.
During the Planning Phase there was a process for the selection of the buildings. The Brookville Main Street, Inc. created a Preserving Main Street Steering Committee that helped make decisions about the program and the selection process of the buildings along Main Street. The Steering Committee received guidance that there should be an independent Scoring Committee of the building owner applications that were received. Members of that Scoring Committee were:
- Jarrad Holbrook, Indiana Landmarks, Director of Southeast Field Office, Preservation Professional
- Brooke Peach, City of Madison, Historic Preservationist
- Brian Sheehan, City of Rushville Director of Special Projects *Due to a last-minute conflict unable to participate
- Todd Thackery, VP SHP Leading Design (Architectural Firm), President of Brookville Redevelopment Commission
- Jenifer Proffit, Resident of Town of Brookville
The scoring committee utilized the initial building owner applications that were due prior to the building owner meeting as well as the second application that was requested following the building owner meeting to help score. The Scoring Committee used the attached Scoring Rubric. Each scoring member had evaluated the building individually prior to the Scoring Committee group meetings. The amount of time they dedicated to this scoring is something to be appreciated. Final results of the decision from the Scoring Committee were sent to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee opted to add 3 additional buildings due to the fact that the Architect’s contract with the Town stated that there would be 10-25 buildings in the planning phase. The final list was sent to the Architect and OCRA for evaluation and consideration of the timeline we are up against. There was additional guidance and final decisions imposed by the funder on some of the buildings chosen. For example, there can be no displacement of persons and windows that are in rentals/residences on the second floor can be a part of the scope due to lead paint mitigation concerns. Another example is that the National Parks Service (NPS) and Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) will not have time to evaluate a Non-Contributing building to Contributing so that building cannot move forward to Construction.
Phase 2 is the Construction. The Town must apply for the Construction funds that were awarded in the Pilot. This is a process of application allows the Office of Community and Rural Affairs to make sure federal threshold requirements are met with the funding. The number of buildings will be limited by the amount of funding available, but will be based on scoring committee ranking, the cost estimates from the planning study documents, and the commitment of matching funds from building owners. Due to limited funds all buildings in planning will be unable to move to the construction phase however, the Town will have the planning documents for each building that could be used to pursue future opportunities that provide rehabilitation funds to building owners.
The Grant was awarded on December 5, 2022, so we have officially entered into the second phase of the project. The following 10 buildings were included in the beginning stages of the construction phase: 300, 301, 315, 320, 333, 515, 572, 664, 721, 766. This phase has a lot of moving pieces, and we will give updates as we can. Right now, the timeframe per OCRA, is 18 months after the grant was awarded. In the coming months, architects will meet with building owners to work on specs, which will be sent to SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) for Section 106 review, followed by advertising and notice to bidders for construction. We are excited to see the transformation this project will have on our downtown Main Street.