The month of May is National Preservation Month and a proclamation was presented to members of Luling Main Street by Mayor Mike Hendricks, declaring See! Save! Celebrate! as the theme for promoting Historic Preservation in our community this year. Observance of National Preservation Month is co-sponsored by the City of Luling and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Luling Main Street, a non-profit group that is active in beautifying our downtown district is planning to roll out its Incentive Grant Program this month in conjunction with the observance of National Preservation Month. Luling Main Street’s new Façade Grant Program seeks to improve the image of downtown Luling and its Main Street District by stimulating Historic Preservation through the assistance of funds to help encourage restoration of its storefront facades located within the designated Main Street District. Types of projects that would qualify for the grant include: Removing slip covers, removing false fronts or non-historic/added facades, paint removal from brick, replacing or restoring cornices and transom windows, replacing or restoring awnings or canopies, repair or replacement of signage, and facade repainting.
The Façade Grant Program being offered by Luling Main Street will be a 50/50 matching grant that ranges from $500 up to $4000 based on the type of work being done and will continue until funds are exhausted. Although complete restorations are encouraged, simple facelifts like repainting or signage upgrades are also welcomed and may also qualify for matching funds. Another valuable resource that can be accessed through the Main Street Program is the offering of free architectural renderings and engineering support from the Architectural Design Staff at the Texas Historical Commission.
Historic Preservation has proven to be a powerful economic development tool and its principles have helped spur downtown revitalization all across the country. When older building facades are restored back to their original look it creates a sense of community stability and character. Derek Hall, Main Street Manager says, “Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, many older buildings were modernized because they were thought to be ugly and out of date, but here we are 50 years later and restored older buildings have become cool again.” “You see it and feel it in the big cities just as much as you see it in smaller towns like ours.” Experts say towns without distinctive characteristics will not be able to set itself apart from other towns, and a community’s unique heritage needs to be promoted in order to make its attractions a destination for tourists, and its businesses a destination for enterprise. Without these distinctions, a community won’t be any different from the one down the road.
Luling Main Street would also love to gather “Then and Now” photos of buildings in the Main Street District from anyone who would love to share. “Main Street would love to help educate the community about our historical roots and compile a larger database of photos of our downtown buildings from all time periods. We think it would be interesting to have a visual record of the many changes the district has gone through over the years and compare it to what you see today”, says Hall.
To get information on the Main Street Incentive Grant Program, apply for help from the THC Design Staff, or to share historic photographs, please contact Main Street Manager Derek Hall at 830-875-3214 ext. 3., or come by the Main Street office located in the Luling Oil Museum at 421 E. Davis St.