PAUL ROMER | CITY OF BELTON
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded the City of Belton a $100,000 grant from the Preserving Black Churches grant program. The funds will support the Belton Mount Zion United Methodist Church Preservation and Rehabilitation Project.
The project will provide the Church with funding to help preserve the exterior and interior of the original building, including the repair and restoration of siding, windows, roof, doors, flooring, lighting, bell tower, wood ceiling, heating/ventilation, furniture, landscaping, and audio/visual equipment.
The Church, located at 218 N. Alexander Street, is a prominent feature along the Nolan Creek Hike & Bike Trail, in the vicinity of the historic Harris Community Center. The city is partnering with Mount Zion on the project in two ways: as the grant applicant, and by providing funding or in-kind services to assist with the installation of water lines, meters, fire hydrant, dedicated fire service line for a fire sprinkler system, architechtural fees, and waiving of building permit fees up to $10,000.
“We are very appreciative to receive this grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” Mayor Wayne Carpenter said. “The Mount Zion congregation has been a vital part of the fabric of our community for over 120 years, and the opportunity to help preserve this historic structure for future generations is a blessing to us all.”
The full restoration of Mount Zion is estimated to cost $367,048.
Additional funding for the project includes a $75,000 Preservation Texas grant, awarded on Sept. 30, 2022, for Mount Zion’s exterior. The Preservation Texas grant has a match of $25,000, which will be provided by the Church.
The National Historic Preservation grant does not require a match.
“It is humbling to see the progress that is now possible with the help of the city and these grants,” Mount Zion Pastor Patrick Russell said. “We look forward to seeing the building shine with a luster it has not had in decades.”
National Historic Grants for Preserving Black Churches are highly competitive. The City’s initial funding proposal was among 1,267 considered by the Trust. In October 2022, Belton was among 79 entities asked to submit a full grant application.
On Monday, in conjuction with the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, the Trust announced it had selected 35 historic churches from across the country for the inaugural grant award for a total investement of $4 million.
“I am pleased you are one of 35 historic Black churches to receive this inaugural grant award,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund and senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The work you are doing to preserve your historic Black church and tell the full American story is energizing and inspiring.”