CONCORD — Governor Chris Sununu spoke to an excited crowd of more than 100 people at the public announcement of the 2019 grant awards for the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) in the Executive Council chamber of the State House Friday, Dec. 6.
“LCHIP defines the 603,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “These grants not only help preserve some of our state’s most important natural, cultural, and historic sites, but provide an immeasurable benefit to Granite Staters.”
Governor Sununu congratulated the grant award recipients, highlighting the variety of projects and sources of match funding: lands and buildings of many different types
spread all over the state plus match funding from local conservation commissions, the community development finance authority and many other sources.
The governor further noted the importance of the personal connections in these projects. It’s not just about submitting a written application and getting a check – important relationships are forged between applicants, LCHIP and elected officials. Governor Sununu followed up by expressing a desire to visit grant recipient sites.
The event publicized the thirty-three projects receiving a total of $3.5 million in matching grants through LCHIP. The grant round was highly competitive, with over $7 million in funding requests compared to $3.5 million available for grants. LCHIP Board Chair Amanda Merrill of Durham observed “The LCHIP Board of Directors was particularly impressed with the variety and quality of projects seeking support this year.”
Twelve natural resource projects will provide permanent conservation for 3,500 acres. Projects range in size from twenty-two acres of farmland in Winchester to 1,368 acres of wildlife habitat in Gilsum. They include five farms, a Lakes Region view point, more than 16 miles of river and pond frontage and 11,000 maple taps.
LCHIP is awarding a $400,000 grant to help The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchase 1,368-acre Surry Mountain in Gilsum. A conservation easement held by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game will further ensure public access to the property and top-notch management for black bears, bobcats, fishers and other wildlife.
Remote Lily Pond, miles of stream frontage, acres of bogs, beaver ponds and other wetland areas are included and protect drinking water for people downstream. The well-managed forest will filter air and water to contribute to human health and provide the opportunity for outdoor adventures for inspiration and restoration.
Grants are being awarded to 21 historic resource projects for structures that date from
the 1759 Ebenezer Hinsdale House in Hinsdale to Belmont’s 1928 library. Restoration to be carried out with assistance from LCHIP includes repair or replacement of leaking roofs, repointing mortar in walls and chimneys, rebuilding historic shutters, structural repairs to failing framing and foundations and more.
The town of Newport will receive up to $87,750 from LCHIP for rehabilitating the 1886 Opera House, an iconic downtown presence. Once noted as the largest performance venue north of Boston, the building fell into disrepair by the mid-20th Century.
Restoration in the 1970s returned the building to its 19th Century grandeur and reestablished its importance to the community as a performance and gathering space.
This year’s LCHIP funds will be matched by town money to replace the auditorium floor and fix stairway, masonry and drainage problems.
Newport looks to this project as a focus for economic activity around cultural tourism.
Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for each dollar provided by LCHIP. This year’s awards of $3.5 million will be matched by more than $10 million that the project proponents will raise from other public and private sources, infusing a total of almost $14 million into the state’s economy in direct project activity.
About New Hampshire’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program
The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority created by the legislature in 2000 with a legislative mandate is to ensure the perpetual contribution of natural, cultural and historic resources to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. LCHIP provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources.
Prior to the grant awards described herein, the program has provided 466 grants which have helped to conserve more than 290,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management and recreation and supported 280 projects to rehabilitate historic structures and sites.
Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 167 of New Hampshire’s 234 communities. Forty-six million dollars of state money has led to a total project value of more than $317 million.
The money for LCHIP grants comes from fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state.
For more information about LCHIP, visit LCHIP.org or call (603) 224-4113