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Basilica of Saint Mary awarded $110,000 through Partners in Preservation competition

The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis won $110,000 to restore part of its 1915 building through the Partners in Preservation (PIP) competition that wrapped up last week.

Twenty-four other local landmarks competed for grant money through the contest from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It involved nearly 28,000 people, who weighed in on an online poll over a three-week period, according to contest information.

PIP, which started in 2006, has given out $5.5 million to 56 historic preservation projects nationwide. Another $10 million will be doled out through the program over the next handful of years, according to contest information.

At the basilica--the oldest in the country, which French architect Emmanuel Masqueray designed--the grant will help spruce up everything from decorative ceilings to paint and gold leaf throughout.  

Chris Morris, a spokesperson from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, says that the basilica hopes the upgrade will lead the way for additional building improvements. “It’s nice that we can act as a catalyst, giving confidence to tackle big projects in the future," she says. 

More broadly, she says, the contest successfully raised awareness about many area preservation projects and “the impact it can have on sites that are meaningful to people in their neighborhoods.”

Additionally, through creative open-house events, people “tried to involve the community and do good work.”

The Hennepin Center for the Arts, which has been renamed the Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts, for example, had some community members knit scarves for a performance art piece. (The scarves also related to “yarn bombing” actions around town.) Afterward, the scarves were donated to people in need. “It was a fabulous act of generosity,” Morris says.   

Also, Emerge Career and Technology Center had a barbeque that got people excited about its redevelopment project in North Minneapolis. “It’s a great way to make strong connections with people in their own community,” says Morris.  

Next, an advisory committee will meet in November to determine how the remaining $900,000 grant will be divvied up among the other 24 competing projects.  

Source: Chris Morris, representative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Writer: Anna Pratt
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