A historic program for our historic theatres.

Idaho's Historic Theatre Revitalization Subgrant Program

Idaho Heritage Trust was awarded $750,000 in federal funding to establish a subgrant program to facilitate the restoration and preservation of historic theaters in Idaho’s rural communities (defined as having a population less than 50,000). This project is supported through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program funded by the Historic Preservation Fund as administered by the National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. These funds are intended for use in large-scale, high-cost projects that are fundamental to the continued health and safe use of these integral spaces. IHT anticipates most requests to be within the $15,000-$100,000 range.

Listen to our Virtual Informative Q&A Session to learn about the subgrant program here.  

Download a pdf of the complete Historic Theatre Grant Guidelines here.

A letter of intent to be considered for the subgrant program is due to IHT by May 1st, 2023. 

What follows are the goals and objectives of this subgrant program, eligibility & selection criteria, timeline and process, and the Grantee’s responsibilities and obligations. For your use, please download the complete Idaho’s Historic Theatre Revitalization Subgrant Program Guidelines. If you have any questions whatsoever, please reach out directly for assistance. 

“Since the completion of the Wilson Theatre, the City of Rupert has seen a
substantial increase in tourist visits, additional City growth and beautification, and enjoyed a general surge of
community pride.”

Senator Kelly Anton

Program Description

IHT’s Historic Theatre Subgrant Program will support the rehabilitation of historic theatre properties of significance at the national, state, and local level in order to restore and protect the heritage of Idaho’s rich theatrical history, ensure our rural communities have access to the arts and culture, reinvigorate key economic and social hubs on historic Main Streets, and to provide a tool for our rural communities to capitalize on Idaho’s growing population and heritage tourism industry.

In order to be considered for funding, proposed projects must have the potential to make an impact in the following areas. While developing your scope of work, crafting your letter of intent, and building your application, please keep the following in mind and reference them when relevant.

The continued cultural and social importance of public theatres make preserving such buildings of the utmost importance to IHT. They are often architecturally interesting and unique, reflecting the time and purpose of their creation, and evoke a rare sense of place both inside and out. Ensuring the continued use of these spaces as intended is the best safeguard against losing unique architectural touchstones. 

From the Vaudeville shows of the late 1800s to the rise of film in the early 20th Century and up until this very day, Idaho’s historic theatres have proven vitally important to enriching the lives of our rural residents. Not only do they provide a venue for traditional theatre performances, theatres also offer an increasingly broad range of unique cultural opportunities and serve a key role as a multi-use space for everything from community meetings and school performances to fundraisers and celebrations. 

Theatres have been identified as a key economic driver on small town Main Streets. A recent study by the State of Oregon found that, “For every ticket purchased, $24.42 in additional arts-related spending goes to support local businesses.” The businesses that stand to gain the most from increased patronage, such as restaurants, art galleries, retail stores, and hotels, are also in need of the most post-pandemic economic stimulus.
Idaho is currently the 2nd fastest growing state in the country. Investing in the amenities and infrastructure of our rural communities will make them attractive destinations for residents to explore the heritage, history, and culture of their new home. Using sub-grant funds to address the physical needs of your building will allow you to spend more on marketing, programming, and outreach.

Grant Funding

Grant award amount is $15,000 – $100,000 maximum.

At minimum, grant recipients must provide a cash match equal to 10% of the grant award.  For example, if a grantee receives a $100,000, the minimum cash match required is $10,000. 

Ninety (90%) of the grant award will be funded by the Historic Preservation Fund as administered by the National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. Ten (10%) of the grant award will be funded by the Idaho Heritage Trust Endowment. 

Project costs that occur outside of the grant period do not qualify. The grant period begins once Grant Award Agreement has been executed. 

Funds are reimbursed to the grantee upon request and documentation of work complete.  Requests may be submitted for a portion of the work complete throughout the process.

December 2023


The following rules determine if a property or project meets the requirements for funding through this subgrant program. Please note that all criteria must be met. 

For the purposes of this grant, the property in question must be the following:

  • Properties originally designed and constructed with the express purpose as a venue for dramatic performance, film screenings, or a combination thereof.
  • Includes DriveIn Movie Theaters
  • Is currently being used for the above purposes, or, if currently closed, will be used primarily for these purposes upon reopening.
  • Historic Theater properties need to be at least 50 years old and/or have been used for the express purpose as a theater for 50 years. 

Private property owners, state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, certified local governments or nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations in good standing with the IRS and the Idaho Secretary of State may apply. The theatre owner does not have to be the applicant, but a letter of consent must be submitted with the application. If awarded, the property owner and applying organization will be required to sign the Grant Award Agreement and applicable Preservation Easement / Covenant Agreements

Historic theatres listed in or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places are eligible to apply. A Determination of Eligibility must be made by the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). To begin this process, complete a National Register Preliminary Eligibility Questionnaire and submit it as soon as possible to SHPO. If awarded a grant, the Idaho Heritage Trust will work with the Grantee to complete a nomination to the National Register before the project is completed. The cost for the nomination will be funded by the Historic Preservation Fund as administered by the National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior. 

The Historic Theatre must be located in communities defined as rural by the US Census Bureau (less than 50,000). 

The grant funds are to be used for “bricks and mortar” projects in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties for preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of historic theater properties. Examples may include any of the following:

  • Measures necessary to stabilize and repair the building; including foundation work, re-pointing of masonry, restoring windows, resecuring and restoring marquees, and re-roofs.
  • Measures necessary to repair and preserve the physical condition of character-defining materials and features of the theater including plasterwork and architectural details, stages, curtains, box office, lobby, lighting, and seating.
  • Upgrades to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code related work to enhance the property’s accessibility and functional requirements can be included as a portion of a larger restoration project. Examples may include complying with barrier-free access requirements, installing sensitively-designed fire suppression systems, or new mechanical or electrical systems in such a manner that the historical building’s character-defining features and finishes are preserved or impacted as little as possible.
  • Restoring an historic theatre as it appeared during its era of significance by means of removal of features from other periods or reconstruction of missing features, so long as clear photographic evidence is available to substantiate this approach.
  • Necessary project “soft” costs for professional services (i.e., architectural or engineering studies or plans directly related to the project) may be included but are not to exceed 20% of the grant award amount.
Projects ineligible for funding include:
  • Construction of new theaters.
  • Reconstruction of an historic theater property.
  • Acquisition or purchase of an Historic Theater.
  • Moving historic theaters or work on a moved historic theater no longer eligible for listing in the NRHP.
  • Landscaping, parking, or general site improvements unless required for ADA access.
  • Costs for work already completed or funded through other federal programs.
  • Operational routine maintenance or long-term maintenance beyond the grant period.

Grant Award Requirements

All work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties; see https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1739/secretary-standardstreatment-historic-properties.htm

Grantees agree to assume, after the completion of the project, the total cost of continued maintenance, repair, and administration of the grant-assisted property in a manner satisfactory to the Secretary of the Interior. Accordingly, owners of historic theaters that benefit from a sub-grant must enter into a Preservation Easement in conformance with the following table. If the grant funded is greater than $50,000, the Preservation Easement will be signed, notarized, and recorded on the deed of the property and will require that the building owner maintain:
  • the historic character and physical integrity of the building,
  • the improvements made through the grant, and
  • communication with Idaho SHPO regarding all future major projects on the building.

The period of the Preservation Easement depends on the amount awarded, based on the table: 

Federal Assistance ($ Amount)Time Requirement / Type of Document
1 - 50,0005-year minimum preservation agreement. A covenant/easement amending the deed is not required.
50,001 - 250,00010-year minimum covenant/easement amending the deed is required.

Application and Submission

All pertinent documents will be provided through IHT’s Grant Portal and applicants must complete the necessary forms therein by the stated deadline. This includes the initial Letter of Intent. A link to the portal is at the bottom of this page.

Prior to the official grant application process, a letter of Intent from a prospective Grant Applicant shall be submitted to the IHT for review and selection. Applicants selected through this process are eligible to apply for the Historic Theatre Revitalization Subgrant and will receive subsequent site visits by IHT representatives and technical experts in advance of submitting your application. Applicants will be selected based on the highest probability of success in meeting the requirements of the grant. You can view the Letter of Intent questions and documents required here.

The submission deadline for the Letter of Intent is 11:59 PM, MST on the date noted at the bottom of this page. Following the Letter of Intent submittal, applicants will be invited to apply for the Historic Theatre Revitalization Subgrant. Applications must be completed through the IHT Grant Portal and submitted no later than 11:59 PM, MST, on the closing date noted on the application.

The application will include narrative questions and document uploads applicable to each of the following areas:

  • Project Description – Project narratives shall address each of the selection criteria listed below.
  • Budget Justification – Description and detailed breakdown of proposed budget including estimated project costs for each sub-contractor. (Or a minimum of three (3) competitive bids if available) Budget form here.  If grant request includes soft costs, then list a minimum of three (3) architecture/engineering consultants qualified and selected to provide RFP’s. Define the selection process and reasons for final selection. 
  • Project Images – Upload photos illustrating the area of proposed scope of work, describe the current conditions and immediate threat.
  • Organization Overview – Describe the mission and structure of the organization and proof of nonprofit status (if applicable).
  • Letters of Support – Attach any letters of support from government officials, any applicable economic development agencies, or main street program directors.

Selection Criteria

  1. Describe the community’s level of need for revitalization and economic development. Define the projects resulting financial impact to the theater and community.
  2. Define how this project will enhance the theater’s benefit to the community.
  3. Does the theater have an historic connection to a traditionally underserved community? (i.e.: migrant workers, Indigenous peoples, Japanese American WWII prisoners)  Does this connection still persist? If not historical, has such a connection developed over time. 
  4. Discuss how this project will preserve the history of the theater for future generations.
  5. Define the level of support from the community and any partnerships. 
  1. Describe the need, urgency, or threat to the property and proposed scope of work.
  2. Well-prioritized, clearly explained scope of work with an appropriate level of detail. Explain what parts of the project the grant will fund. 
  3. Compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. No adverse effect on the historic property.
  4. Describe the level of project readiness, and ability to produce plans that easily move through the NPS review process.
  5. Define how competitive bids will be obtained and provide a list of selected contractors with their qualifications and experience with historic properties.
  1. Describe your organization financial resources, experience, and technical qualifications; or a commitment arrangement, or ability to obtain such.
  2. Describe organizational experience with grants, contracts, and restoration projects.
  3. Describe your accounting system and auditing procedures. 
  4. Discuss the major work elements of your detailed line-item budget. 
  5. Identify the donor, source, kind, and amount for your 10% matching funds or your plans to raise the match. 
  1. Describe the current operations and proposed operations upon completion of the project.
  2. Describe how the project will enhance the theater’s future programming.
  3. Describe how the project will ensure long-term preservation and continued use of the theater.
  4. Briefly describe any future restoration projects.
  5. Discuss your plan to maintain and operate the property for 10-20 years.

Review & Selection Process

A month prior to the application deadline and upon request, IHT can provide an initial review to determine whether: (1) all information required is provided; and (2) the applicant is responsive to the program goals & objectives. If any information is missing, the applicant will be provided feedback to address the incomplete responses. 

Once the application submission has closed, all applications deemed complete will be eligible for the Technical Evaluation. Each criteria includes 5 questions to be addressed and each will be scored a 1 (low) – 5 (high). There are 25 total points available for each of the four criteria. 

The review will be performed by representatives from the Idaho Heritage Trust Board and staff, the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The Technical Review Committee members will individually complete an independent review based on the following scoring. A total score will be calculated for each of the reviewers, and an averaged total score from the entire Technical Review Committee for each applicant.

The Board of Directors may consider the Technical Review Committee’s score and recommendations and the amount of funds available to select applications for funding. All proposals submitted will be considered using the criteria outlined above.

Award Administration

Upon being selected for an award, successful applicants will receive a notification of the selection of their application for funding through the IHT Grant Portal. An email from administrator@grantinterface.com will be sent to successful applicants. The notification will include directions to login to your account where you will find a number of documents and Follow Up Reports uploaded to your dashboard to be completed throughout the process of the award administration.

Notification of a Grant Award from the Idaho Heritage Trust.

If awarded a grant, a Grant Award Agreement shall be signed by the IHT, the grantee, and the Property Owner of record to accept the terms of the Agreement. This document will be considered to be part of your Grant Agreement. Some of the items in the Agreement shall include:

  1. Start and completion dates, and final report date.
  2. Grant award amount
  3. Special conditions for the project.
  4. Description of the scope of work to be completed within the contract requirements.
  5. No changes to the scope of work without prior written approval.
  6. Insurance requirements, as applicable.
  7. Grantee Warranties, Indemnification, and Enforceability clauses.
  8. Specific language for the acknowledgement of public funds.
  9. Requirements for submitting reports and reimbursement requests.
  10. Requirements for inspections and audits.

Completion of Section 106 and NEPA documentation is required for all historic theater revitalization projects. Both processes must be completed before work begins. IHT will work with SHPO to begin the Section 106 review and the NEPA process upon receipt of architectural and engineering plans.

• Submit the project for National Park Service review and begin the NEPA process.
• The 30-day tribal and public comment period will be completed.
• The complete NEPA documentation will be sent to NPS.
• The grantee will be notified of the project start date.
• The coversheet and development project checklist are in Appendix D.

An approved project budget with line items specifying project expenses covered by the grant funds and percentage of project budget covered by the applicant match shall be attached to the Grant Award Agreement.

This document shall be attached to and considered a part of the Grant Award Agreement. In the event of a conflict between this document and the Grant Award Agreement, the language in the Grant Award Agreement shall control.

Grant Management

The subgrant funding comes from federal funds and IHT funds and follows certain requirements in the management of the subgrant funded project. These requirements will affect consultant and contractor selection, scope of work, reviews and approvals, reports and billings, project photographs, public notices, and recordkeeping.

Review and approval of all project plans and specifications is required prior to performing any work. Scope of review includes all work undertaken on the property and not just the grant supported work.

Adherence to Preservation Standards: Review and approval for compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Section 106: Review and approval for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act in coordination with the Idaho SHPO.
NEPA: Review and approval for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Nominations to National Register: Owners of Historic theatres shall allow their building to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Idaho by the completion of the project. In coordination with the grantee, the Idaho Heritage Trust will complete the nomination and submit to the NPS for review and approval.

The subgrants are awarded through the IHT from the Historic Preservation Fund, administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. Therefore, all grantees must follow the
requirements of the following federal regulations:

Historic Preservation Fund Grants Manual: Grantees of these federal funds are subject to the requirements of the Historic Preservation Funds Grant Manual.
Code of Federal Regulations: Grantees of these federal funds are subject to the requirements of Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR 200.1, 200.101, 200.331).
Scope Revisions: The grantee shall obtain prior approval for any budget and project scope revisions per CFR 200.308.
Consultants/Contractors Selection: Consultants and contractors shall have the requisite experience and training in historic preservation and/or experience working with historic buildings and shall be selected through a competitive process. The minimum experience shall include a license to practice Architecture, Structural, Mechanical, or Electrical Engineering and preferred to have at least one year of full-time professional experience working on historic preservation projects or experience having worked on a minimum of two projects listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Architectural and Engineering consultants may be selected through an RFQ process with selection based on a QBS (Qualifications Based Selection) process. The minimum experience for contractors and subcontractors shall include a registered contractor’s license, general liability and worker’s comp insurance coverage for all employees and a minimum experience of 2-3 historic preservation projects. Contractors shall be selected through a competitive Design-Bid Build process. Selection shall be based on the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of the project,  contractor integrity, experience with historic preservation, record of past performance, compliance with public policy, and financial and technical resources. Documentation of the how the contractor was solicited and selected and why the contractor was selected must be maintained by the grantee and provided to IHT for approval prior to work commencement.
Consultants / Contractor’s Procurement: A full description of procurement standards can be found in 2 CFR 200.317-200.326. Maximum hourly wage rates for consultants and contractors charged to this grant may not exceed 120% of a Federal Civil Service GS-15, step10 per project location. Current regional hourly wage tables can be found on the Office of Personnel and Management website: SALARY TABLE 2023-RUS (opm.gov).
Build America, Buy America: Section 70914 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, none of the sub-grant federal funds may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States, unless subject to an approved waiver.
Americans with Disabilities Act: The use of federal funds to improve public buildings requires compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Work completed shall be in compliance with all applicable regulations and guidance.
Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act: The use of lead-based paint in historic preservation projects rehabilitated with Federal assistance is prohibited

  • General Liability & Worker’s Comp: Prior to the commencement of work,
    the subgrantee shall provide evidence of its general liability insurance.
    Subgrantee shall ensure its contractors and/or subcontractors are insured
    with worker’s compensation insurance and general liability insurance.
  • Standard Fire and Extended Coverage: Where required by the Grant Award
    Agreement, the grantee shall provide a Certificate of Insurance for Standard
    Fire and Extended Coverage Certificate of Insurance to IHT upon completion
    of the Scope of Work and annually for a term of five (5) years after funding
    of the Grant Award. In the event of any damage to the Property, the grantee
    shall notify IHT in writing within fourteen (14) days of the damage.

Owners of the historic theaters will allow IHT to take photographs and video before and after completion of the project. Grantee agrees to provide in-progress and completion photographs. Photos are required in a digital format (300dpi or higher, jpeg). Do not. submit photographs in a .pdf format.

Owners of historic theaters will allow the Idaho Heritage Trust to install a Project Sign for the duration of the project.

Grant Reporting and Reimbursement

Requirements identified throughout these Grant Subgrant Program Guidelines and the Grant Award Agreement, shall be required to be documented and submitted to IHT through IHT’s Grant Portal as Follow Up Reports. All Follow Up Reports will be shown on your Dashboard, if and when a Grant is awarded. These reports will require submittals throughout the grant period and shall include, but not limited to, the signed Grant Award Agreement, Certificates of Insurance as applicable, documentation of Architecture and Engineering selection process and qualifications, submittal of architectural plans and specifications, documentation of Grantee’s competitive bid process for contractor proposals and selection, interim progress reports & photographs, copies of public notices and communications, requests for reimbursement of funding, the final report, and annual economic impact reports.

Reminder emails will be sent to you prior to the due dates. IHT administrative staff will review and approval all submitted reports.

Grant reports are twice per year.  The Interim report is a current status report of the project and summary of work completed,  timeline for completion, and any issues or challenges.  Submit supporting attachments like photographs, inspection results, etc. 

A final report is required within 30 days of completing the project or by the final deadline on your grant agreement, whichever is first. Final reports shall include:

  • A summary of work completed and any changes to the original plan.
  • Photographs before, during and after the project is complete (300 dpi or higher, no pdf’s). 
  • A photo of the required project sign. 

Grant funds are dispersed on a reimbursable basis.  A project report and a reimbursement request are required to receive a reimbursement.  Progress reimbursement requests are encouraged and allowed. The reimbursement request must include expense information for the period or phase of the project, the request covers. Submit the following attachments:  Copies of contracts, invoices or receipts for all materials and labor expenses.  Do not submit cancelled checks as proof of payment. Only proof of expense is required.  

  • The final reimbursement request shall include financial budget detailing all expenditures to complete the project including supporting documentation of invoices and receipts verifying proof of all out-of-pocket costs.
  • Proof of the 10% match from the Grantee
  • Lien waivers from contractors and/or material suppliers.
  • A Certificate of Completion issued by the architect, engineer, or contractor verifying work is complete in accordance with the plans and specifications.  

The grantee shall provide annual economic impact reports for five years following the completion of the scope of work.  These results will help your organization and IHT track and report on the value of the project and the grant on community revitalization. 

Public Notice Obligations

Community engagement is one of the best ways to ensure your project’s long-term success. Our requirements are designed to help you capitalize on your newfound status as grantees and are as follows: 

The sub-grant recipient must include acknowledgement of grant support in all press releases, publications, and publicity related activities funded with this award. Copies must be provided to IHT.

“This project is supported through a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service, Department of Interior, and the Idaho Heritage Trust.” 

Any publications including the plans and specification must include the following nondiscrimination statement:

“This program received Federal financial assistance for identification and protection of historic properties. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability or age in its federally assisted programs. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office for Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.” 

We cannot reimburse for projects that don’t include the above statements. 

We urge you to send letters to the Congressional Delegates in your District thanking them for their continued support of the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Program funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior. A thank you template including required information is provided for your convenience here.  Please provide copies to IHT. 

Local press is a wonderful resource for raising awareness of your project, engendering public support, and promoting fundraising opportunities. In cooperation with IHT, please write an article or press release about your project for your local newspaper acknowledging the support from the National Park Service and the Idaho Heritage Trust. A template for an effective news release is provided for your use here.

Through your organization’s Facebook page, ‘like’ the Idaho Heritage Trust’s business page and tag us when you share progress photos of your project. Keep your page up to date and post periodically about the progress on your project. https://www.facebook.com/idahoheritagetrust

We encourage each Grantee to create a public event to celebrate the completion of the project and acknowledge the grant funding. We request and appreciate if you include the Idaho Heritage Trust in the planning of your event, so that we can ensure all of the appropriate dignitaries receive an invitation and the NPS and IHT are included in your event’s welcoming remarks.


  • March 15, 2023 – Information Q&A Session with representatives of the Idaho Heritage Trust, the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, and the Idaho Main Street Program. 
  • May 1, 2023, 11:59 PM MST – Letters of Intent Deadline
  • May 15, 2023 – Invitations to apply for a Historic Theatre Grant released.
  • May 15, 2023 – August 15, 2023 – Technical Assistance site visits with theatres to provide guidance for project activities and help define the scope of work to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. 
  • August 15, 2023, 11:59 PM MST – Grant Application Deadline
  • September 15, 2023 – Grant Award Selection
  • October – November – National Park Service Review
  • December 2023 – Grant Award Notification
  • February 28, 2024 11:59 PM MST – Architectural Plans & Specifications Deadline
  • March – May – National Park Service, Section 106 Review & NEPA Review and Approval
  • May 1, 2024: Competitive Bids Submittal Deadline
  • June 1, 2024 – Work Commencement upon final approval from the National Park Service
  • June 1, 2025 – Work Completion Deadline
  • July 1, 2025 – Final Report Deadline

This may seem like a tall task but know that we are available to assist you with any questions or concerns at every step of the process. We are here to help!

Grant Period: January 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025

Award Amount

$15,000 - $100,000

Requires a 10% cash match. 

Letter of Intent Deadline

May 1, 2023
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