Citing a growing rate of barn demolition and collapse, the N.H. Preservation Alliance announced today, November 29 (Giving Tuesday) a campaign to help preserve at least 52 barns across the state in 2017 with planning grants, education and promotion of a local tax relief program for barns. The statewide non-profit is seeking financial support to help meet their goal. Listen to this new piece on our campaign on NHPR!
Barns tell the history of New Hampshire: from hardscrabble beginnings to the sheep and dairy booms in the 19th century. Virtually every rural homestead and village property included a barn. As you travel through New Hampshire today, it’s impossible not to see that this legacy of hard work and community is crumbling around us with missed opportunities for investment and stewardship.
“We’re losing historic New Hampshire barns at a rate of nearly one per day,” said Beverly Thomas, program director at the Preservation Alliance. “The Preservation Alliance has seen increases in public awareness of the significance of barns and the benefits of preservation over the last decade, but we want to do more in the coming year because of the crisis in the dairy industry and what experts see as a big bubble of need because of deferred maintenance of 19th century barns,” she said.
The Preservation Alliance will expand three proven programs to meet the goal: assessment grants that help owners prioritize and complete barn repair work, educational programs for barn owners and enthusiasts, and expanding use of a state barn easement program that can offer tax relief to property owners who preserve their historic agricultural structures. Barns are part of the landscapes and communities that attract businesses and visitors according to project leaders.