What is the Cost Share Program?
It is a unique program designed to develop a cultural resource database for Virginia’s local governments, including surveys of historic resources, local preservation plans, and preparation of national register nominations, in which the locality and the Department of Historic Resources (DHR) share the costs.
How does it work?
A locality competes to participate in the program by submitting a proposal to survey historic properties, prepare national register nominations, or develop preservation plans for its jurisdiction. The department will match the amount of money the locality is willing to commit for the project. Department staff will assume the administrative burden of the project by hiring a consultant to do the work and, through its field offices, closely monitor the project to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of both the locality and the department.
How long has the program been available to Virginia localities?
The cost share program was launched in 1991, with over 100 localities participating to date.
How does the program assist local governments?
The Code of Virginia directs each jurisdiction to develop a comprehensive plan and to update it every five years. Additional legislation calls for each locality to incorporate cultural resources into its comprehensive plans. Surveys conducted under this program can go a long way toward establishing a usable cultural resource database. The database facilitates the environmental review process and helps avoid costly delays for both state and federal agencies and for developers. Moreover, the resulting database and accompanying report can be critical tools in developing heritage tourism. The survey report provides written and visual information for use in both formal and general education outreach programs. National register nominations offer the opportunity for owners of historic properties to use the state and federal preservation tax credits, which can lead to community revitalization. Survey projects include the creation of a scripted slide presentation for use throughout the area to inform residents of important historic properties in their community and to stimulate interest in learning about their locality’s history.
When does a locality submit a proposal?
Generally a mailing goes out to all local governments in the spring of each year inviting proposals from local governments. Localities have about 60 days to prepare proposals that the department will evaluate on a competitive basis. The criteria for the evaluation include the need for survey and other preservation activities in that particular area, comprehensiveness, and responsiveness of the proposal.
How long does the process take?
Evaluation of the proposals usually takes about a month. During the following two months, the department works closely with the selected local governments to develop a scope of work and advertises for consultants to carry out the projects, using the Request for Proposal (RFP) method. The scope of work calls for at least two public meetings in the locality, along with ongoing dialogue with county, city, or town officials who have been designated as contacts by the local government. The consultants’ proposals are evaluated and a contract award is made. The general time frame for completing each project is 15 months from the time a consultant is selected.
How does a successful cost share project benefit a locality?
A Cost Share project:
What are some of the typical total costs for a Cost Share project?
These costs are estimates only and should only be used as a general guideline. The department does not guarantee the prices but is willing to work with the local governments to modify budgets or scopes of work to assure a mutually satisfactory product.
In most cases, the local government provides at least one half of the cash for these projects, but DHR will entertain all proposals, regardless of the amount of local match offered. Local portions are often supplemented with funds from local historical societies and other private entities. Project proposals can be enhanced when local governments can offer office space, lodging, use of government vehicles, computers, or volunteer hours. However, in-kind services cannot be substituted for the cash contribution.
For further information regarding the Cost Share Program, contact Carey Jones at (804) 482-6453.