Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission awards 2 grants in 1st year of Paint Grant Program

The modern farmhouse at 544 8th St., built in 1895, was one of the recipients of a Spearfish Historic Preservation paint grant in 2018. Pioneer photo by Kaija Swisher

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SPEARFISH — In 2018, the Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission orchestrated a Paint Grant Program, with three grants awarded and two recipients able to complete the work within the requirements: Chris and Melissa Haught, at 544 8th St., and Kathy Bohn at 730 8th St., received $500 matching-funds reimbursement grants for paint materials and/or labor for an exterior painting project.

The Spearfish Historic Preservation Commission established the Paint Grant Program to assist residents of Spearfish with the financial cost of painting residential, owner-occupied properties built pre-1950. The commission seeks to inspire and promote pride of ownership and to protect historic architecture.

Greg Dias, chair of the commission, explained that a couple of years ago, Commissioner Patti Dias suggested the idea of making a paint grant available as a means of promoting preservation. Since other communities have similar programs, the commission did a bit of research and was enthusiastic about the idea, he said. Former commission member Rebecca Rodriguez then put together an application form.

“We began advertising the availability of the program early (in the) spring, received a few applications, and were happy to select three recipients,” Dias said, explaining that although one applicant was not able to complete their project and was subsequently not able to take advantage of the grant, the program’s success in its inaugural year has been encouraging. “We’re hoping more owners of older homes in Spearfish take interest in the program and apply for the grant.”

Melissa Haught, one of the recipients of a 2018 grant, described that her family bought the 1895 modern farmhouse at 544 8th St. four years ago and has been in the process of restoring the home.

“The paint grant helped to negate some of the cost of painting, but even more it was the sense of being supported by the community in (restoring) a house that I am so passionate about and that is such a big part of Spearfish history,” she said. “The first mayor or Spearfish, George Favorite, built the house in 1895, and it was considered ‘modern’ in its time. I am greatly appreciative for the vision of the preservation commission in doing their part to conserve history.” 

Dias said that the community is fortunate to have many older homes in Spearfish, and on behalf of the historic preservation commission, he thanked property owners for their efforts in maintaining their properties. 

“Their endeavors benefit not only themselves and their own properties, but their neighborhoods and the community as a whole as well,” Dias said. “Spearfish is a beautiful town, and part of what makes it a nice place to live — and visit! — is the community’s charm and character. Our older homes and buildings directly contribute to that character, and it’s something we shouldn’t take for granted.”

The Paint Grant Program will take place annually, and more information about the 2019 program will be available on the commission’s website, cityofspearfish.com/city_government/boards_and_committees/spearfish_historic_preservation_commission/index.php, soon.

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