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Now available: Financial Incentives and Opportunities for Historic Preservation and Archaeology in Virginia (PDF)

The following department programs offer a variety of financial assistance for historic preservation. If you are interested in any of the programs, select their titles for more information.

Archaeological Threatened Sites. Archaeological sites are some of Virginia's most fragile resources. The Threatened Sites Program offers emergency funding for archaeological sites endangered by erosion, impending development, or vandalism. The program has saved archaeological remnants at 75-plus sites across Virginia, providing important information about our past that would have been lost.

Certified Local Government Grants. Certified Local Governments are eligible for grants that can be used to survey architectural and archaeological resources, prepare nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, create preservation planning documents and programs, create public education programs, and rehabilitate publicly owned buildings listed on the national register. 

Civil War Battlefield State-Matching Grants: The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is again charged with administering funds for projects that provide permanent protection for Civil War battlefield lands in Virginia that are listed in the “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields.” The deadline for the grants for 2012-2013 has closed. Projects are being evaluated based on significance of the battlefield, threat, integrity, financial and administrative capacity of the applicant, and plans for future management for preservation and public benefit among other criteria. All grant awards require a 50-percent match using private or federal funds. The grant awards will be announced later this year (2012).

Easements.  By donating a historic preservation easement on a property, landowners may be eligible for several financial incentives. The value of the easement, as determined by a qualified appraiser, can be claimed as a charitable-donation deduction from an owner's federal taxable income. For donations made in 2010-2011, deductions for historic preservation or conservation easements may be claimed for up to 50 percent of the donor's adjusted gross income in the year of the gift. A Virginia state tax credit has also been established for conservation easements at 40 percent of the value of the easement. Additionally, donation of a conservation easement may stabilize or even lower local property taxes.

Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Interested in rehabilitating a historic building? Property owners who complete a certified rehabilitation of a significant historic building can receive an income tax credit on 25% of their eligible expenses through the Virginia Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and an additional 20% credit through the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program.

Survey & Planning Cost Share Program. Through the cost share program, localities can partner with DHR to take stock of their historic resources. By knowing all of what it has, a locality can then make sound decisions about planning development. The department partially funds and fully administers the projects, relieving often over-burdened local planning officials. 

Other Preservation Funding

Financial Incentives and Opportunities for Historic Preservation and Archaeology in Virginia: In addition to the financial assistance offered by the department, preservation funding opportunities exist from local, state, and national sources. The Financial Incentives and Opportunities for Historic Preservation and Archaeology in Virginia provides funding options for museums, historic sites, homeowners, neighborhoods, localities, investors, and businesses.

Virginia Land Conservation Fund. The Virginia Land Conservation Fund, managed by the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, offers grants to cultural projects seeking to preserve a variety of resource types including battlefields, viewsheds, and structures. For more information, contact the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Virginia Main Street Program. Communities can put the traditional assets of downtown, such as unique architecture and locally owned businesses, to work as a catalyst for economic growth and community pride through the Virginia Main Street Program, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Since its inception in 1985, thousands of jobs have been created and more than $448 million in private money has been invested in the 21 Main Street communities in Virginia – using old buildings and historic character as an asset to bring people back into older business districts.

Updated 8.6.12