The first state-run survey in 22 years that is intended to determine the potential costs of the repair, restoration or improvements needs of New Jersey historic sites will begin Wednesday, state Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable announced Tuesday.
The Capital Needs Survey will be conducted by the state Historic Trust, which encourages all publicly owned and nonprofit-managed sites to participate in the survey.
“The Historic Trust recognizes that even our state’s most notable and celebrated historic sites and attractions have significant needs for repairs and improvements, all of which will ultimately serve the public better,” Constable said. “This survey will help the Trust identify those specific needs and begin to quantify the costs associated with making these historic buildings relevant and useful in their communities.”
The survey will end May 1. It will pose questions about a building’s use, repair needs, projected repair costs, and, if appropriate, its participation in heritage tourism development.
A historic building is defined as a structure that was built more than 50 years ago, or prior to 1962. A property does not need to be listed on the state or national Register of Historic Places to be included in the survey. Among the buildings that may participate are historic residences, farmsteads, factories, theaters, museums, houses of worship, fire houses, libraries, railroad stations, and schools. Buildings owned by private homeowners or businesses are not eligible for this survey.
The first capital needs survey, conducted in 1990, identified more than $400 million. The survey’s results helped garner public support for four historic preservation bond referendums in the 1990s, and sustain historic preservation funding from the Garden Sate Preservation Trust from 2000 to 2010.
This year, the Historic Trust is hoping to attract more participants by making the survey accessible online.
“By using the Internet and making the survey easy to complete and submit, we hope to reach as many historic site stewards as possible,” Historic Trust Director Dorothy Guzzo said. “The broader the participation, the better picture we will have of the state’s real need for historic preservation funding. “Upon completion of the survey, the data will be analyzed and the capital needs of the state’s historic properties will be tallied and published by the end of the year. The Historic Trust will use the information to prioritize or revise criteria for its program, as well as to alert the community to begin thinking about their future stewardship needs.
The Historic Trust administers grants from the Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund, the NJ Cultural Trust Capital Preservation Grant Program, the “Discover NJ History” License Plate Fund and the 1772 Foundation Grant Program for New Jersey.
Since 1990, the Historic Trust has awarded more than $134 million in matching preservation grants to sites in every county of the state.
For more information on the Capital Needs Survey visit:
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM