On September 20, with the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis in attendance, Partners in Preservation announced that the Czech and Slovak CSPS Hall in St. Paul was chosen as one of 25 finalists in the Twin Cities metro area to compete for part of a million dollar historic preservation grant. Joyce Tesarek, one of six representatives from Sokol Minnesota who attended the public announcement held at the James J. Hill Library, stated “We are excited to finally be able to share this good news with our members, community and friends. We are elated and honored to be one of 360 qualified sites considered for the grant and then to be in chosen for the final group of 25.”
Sokol Minnesota is in the midst of a series of projects to renovate the Hall as it approaches its 125-year anniversary. The Partners in Preservation grant has a maximum limit of $125,000 per site. Any grant funding will be used to renovate the Hall’s stage, update its sound system and add air conditioning.
Individuals are encouraged to vote online at facebook.com/partnersinpreservation for the historic place of their choice in the seven-county Twin Cities area. The most favorite place, the winner of the popular vote, is guaranteed funding for its project. Individuals are encouraged to vote – once per day, every day. Voting began September 20 and runs through October 12. Remaining grant funds will be available to other historic places upon recommendation from Partners in Preservations’ advisory committee, which is co-chaired by Twin City mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman. Both spoke at the public announcement and mentioned their connections to the Hall.
Partners in Preservation, a community-based program which promotes community awareness and provides preservation grants for local historic places, is funded by American Express in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Official local and national partners for this grant include the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Minnesota Historical Society, Explore Minnesota, Valspar Corporation and Delta Airlines, designated “leading partners.” Additional partners include Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota Zoo, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.
The C.S.P.S. Hall, which was built in 1887, is the longest serving national hall and theater in Minnesota. It is also the longest serving Czech-Slovak cultural center in the United States. It was declared a National and State Historic Site and added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1977.