PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Four buildings including two churches won approval Thursday from South Dakota State Historical Society trustees for preservation grants funded by a portion of Deadwood casino taxes.
The trustees also decided to take $5,000 each spring from the Deadwood money to use for maintaining three sites.
The Legislature gave the society responsibility, but no funding, to care for Verendrye Monument at Fort Pierre, the Fort Pierre Chouteau complex, and Oahe Chapel on the Missouri River upstream from Pierre and Fort Pierre.
Deadwood currently provides $100,000 to the trustees per year to distribute to projects throughout South Dakota. The amount has declined as Deadwood officials shifted more to projects in their city.
Ted Spencer, an administrator for the historical society, said the Deadwood account has a current balance of $223,000. He said an average of $8,000 has gone unspent annually during each of the past 20 years from Deadwood grants the trustees had approved.
Trustee David Wolff of Spearfish said he supported Spencer’s request but raised a related point: “At some point it will impact the money going out.”
Trustee Peggy Sanders of Oral asked about the balance. Spencer said there have been “strong” application cycles where more money was sought than Deadwood had provided for that year.
He said there sometimes were emergencies, such as the $50,000 that was used to improve the Verendrye site, and some of the money has been allocated but hasn’t been distributed.
Trustee Rolene Schliesman of Wilmot wondered whether the Legislature should be told about the situation. “How are we supposed to keep up?”
Sanders responded that lawmakers would look at the balance and say, “You can do five thousand.”
The four projects the trustees approved Thursday included two Huron churches.
First Congregational Church will be reimbursed up to $15,000 for rehabilitating 16 stained-glass windows and replacing storm windows, while First Presbyterian Church will be paid back up to $12,000 for fixing 18 stained-glass windows.
The Hand County Courthouse that was built in Miller in 1924 will get $14,476 for rehabilitating stained-glass panels on the roof and skylights.
The Harlou Building in Hot Springs will receive up to $13,000 for masonry work on the sandstone facade and for repairing stucco.