COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - Preservationists across Indiana say they're worried that efforts to save Indiana's architectural treasures are being hampered by budget cuts.
The Republic reports that the amount of money awarded through the Historic Preservation Fund has dropped by nearly $100,000 over the past year.
Unlike other states, Indiana does not have separate state funds to address crumbling architecture. Money instead comes from the Historic Preservation Fund, which receives federal dollars for that purpose.
Steven Kennedy, assistant director of administration, financial incentives and planning at the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, said Congress has kept funding for the Historic Preservation Fund relatively stable. However, the percentage of those funds going toward preservation has fallen because the agency has had to tap some federal funds to offset state budget cuts.
"We can't cut staff because we (would) lose programs," Kennedy said — and fewer would mean less federal money.
Kennedy said the share of federal funds awarded for preservation has fallen from 76 percent in 2008 to about 55 percent this year.
Architect Louis Joyner, who helped secure a $300,000 grant from the National Park Service to repair North Christian Church in Columbus in 2007, said he's worried about the lack of available funds.
Leaks in the church's concealed guttering had begun to deteriorate the roof, and without the grant, the original slate roof might have had to be replaced with asphalt shingles.
"We get into some buildings where some scary stuff is happening," Joyner said.
Joyner said he's grateful that the city's six National Historic Landmarks are owned by responsible institutions and that many were "very well done" to begin with.
"Most people understand they have to take care of their buildings — or they just get away from them," he said.
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