Brenton Townsend spent last week closing on the historic bank property in Huntington. He is adamant about preserving the building’s history and will be working towards getting it placed on the state’s registry of historic preservations.
The building, located on Broadway Street in Huntington, was once a part of a booming economy in the coal-mining city. “The building in my eyes should be known whether it’s the bank or the church, but the bank was what it was originally,” stated Townsend. “If it is registered then you can attempt to get grants to maintain it. Going that route would be great to have to actually bring it back to its first days.”
The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program works with the people of Arkansas to identify, document, register and protect the cultural resources of the state. The AHPP provides financial assistance, education and guidance in statewide and local preservation efforts, and seeks to instill a preservation ethic as part of community development in Arkansas.
Arkansas’s historic homes, neighborhoods, courthouses, battlefields, archeological sites, and commercial districts are visible reminders of our shared cultural heritage. The preservation, restoration, and protection of these historic and cultural resources are the main concerns of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The agency provides financial, educational, and technical assistance, manages the Main Street Arkansas program, and directs the National Register of Historic Places program for the state.
Every year, the AHPP awards $1.5 million in grants for the rehabilitation of historic structures. These grants provide assistance to historic properties, county courthouses, and downtown areas, as well as funding projects that further an understanding of Arkansas history and historic preservation. The agency also administers the 20 percent federal and 25 percent state income tax credit programs to encourage the rehabilitation and reuse of historic properties to foster economic development.
The AHPP staff can assist with technical questions. Whether it’s advice about a period-appropriate color scheme or how to repair broken ironwork or crumbling plaster walls, every year thousands of people and organizations find answers to their questions about preserving historic structures.
Through educational outreach, AHPP works with students and teachers to instill a preservation ethic in young Arkansans. In addition, it pursues preservation outreach in the form of heritage tourism programs and presentations to organizations around Arkansas. The agency’s programs, including the popular Walks Through History and Sandwiching in History, promote the value of historic preservation and the connection of historic buildings to the state’s past and its communities. The monthly walking tours are open to the general public and are free of charge.
The AHPP offers extensive research and heritage tourism resources online, including databases of historic properties and technical assistance resources, numerous publications about Arkansas history and historic preservation, and driving tour maps of the state’s historic properties.
“I’ve been going round and round and I think this building is way too much of a local memory for me to enjoy all to myself,” stated Townsend. Adding that he would like to restore the building, and rent it out for meetings, weddings, and parties. “It… lets me always enjoy it but allows others to enjoy it by the hour or day. It would keep all the worry of not making the funds to keep the doors open because I’ll be doing this for other reasons.”