Historic Heritage Grant Programs


The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara established the Historical Heritage Grant Program (HHGP) in 1990 to promote historic preservation and the awareness of significant cultural, historical, and archaeological resources within Santa Clara County. Funding is provided through the dedication of a portion of the County Park Charter Development Funds to the HHGP.

The Board of Supervisors is not obligated to fund any HHGP projects, even if the project has been deemed eligible for funding and/or the Historical Heritage Commission recommends funding in any amount.


Local public agencies and non-profit corporations with 501(c)(3) certification, located within the geographical limits of Santa Clara County, are eligible to apply for grant funds for projects within the geographical limits of Santa Clara County.


A technical workshop was held in April 2013 to provide prospective applicants with technical information regarding the grant program and application packet filing process. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to attend this workshop before preparing a grant application packet.


Before a project can be considered, applicants must submit an application packet that demonstrates the fulfillment of all of the following conditions:

  • The HHGP is limited to projects involving the development of real property, as opposed to personal property. Real property consists of land and things affixed to land that cannot be moved.
  • The project must be located in a public park or on private property dedicated to park purposes. A public park is a park that is owned or operated by the County, a city, or other public agency, such as an open space district. Eligible private property is land that is (i) actually used and dedicated to use for park purposes by deed or other long term legal agreement, (ii) open to the public on a non-discriminatory basis, and (iii) is designated for park use under the applicable general plan and zoning designation.
  • Where the park use is established by agreement, such as a lease, the agreement must provide for continual use for park purposes for a minimum of twenty years on a non-discriminatory basis, and the applicant must submit documentation from the property owner consenting to the project and committing to the execution of the Project Agreement in the form of the sample resolution (Appendix E).
  • The project must involve the stabilization, preservation, rehabilitation, restoration or interpretation of locally designated (or eligible for local designation) historic resources. Projects that involve stabilization, preservation, rehabilitation or restoration must consist of capital improvements that will materially extend or ensure the useful life of the asset, as opposed to deferred maintenance or general maintenance. Projects that involve the interpretation of historic resources must involve capital improvements, such as permanent interpretive signage affixed to the land or structure, rather than reports, studies, or moveable objects.
  • The project must involve a locally designated historic resource (landmark or contributing resource to a local historic district or the equivalent) protected by a city or County historic preservation ordinance. If the historic resource is not locally designated at the time of application, the applicant must complete the designation process prior to Board of Supervisors approval of the project agreement.
  • Project must have all of the necessary funding in place, excluding the HHGP grant amount, at the time of application. HHGP funds cannot be used as seed money to leverage additional monies in a future fund raising campaign.


The following projects are ineligible for funding:

  • Projects involving the reconstruction or replication of a historic resource that is no longer extant. Projects must involve an existing locally designated (or eligible for local designation) historic resource.
  • Projects in the planning and feasibility stage and services connected with such projects (e.g. hiring a consultant to conduct a historic resource survey or to prepare a historic report, conditions assessment or feasibility study).
  • Projects involving the purchase of real or personal property (e.g. moveable objects not permanently attached to real property such as equipment, computers, furniture, display cabinets, interior accessories and publications).
  • Projects involving areas of the historic resource that are used for administrative or non-public functions. Grant funds cannot be used to develop or to support areas dedicated to operation, maintenance, or administrative activities (e.g. work on a portion of a facility dedicated to staff or private use such as offices, storage or private reception areas). Such functions may exist within the facility, but the HHGP cannot fund work items specifically in these areas. Grant funding must be applied to areas of the facility that are open or visible to all Santa Clara County residents on a non-discriminatory basis. 


Low funding priorities are projects or elements of a project that are state or federal code compliance, infrastructure improvements (e.g. utilities, landscaping, signage), new construction (e.g. an addition to a historic resource), or interior finishes that are not preservation focused. In addition, projects and grantees that have previously received HHGP funds may be considered a low funding priority.


$252,063.39 is available for Fiscal Year 2014.


For additional information please review the Historical Heritage Grant Program Application and Procedures Guide, available via download below:



Mr. Christian Elliott, Management Analyst
County of Santa Clara, Parks and Recreation Department
Telephone: (408) 355-2291

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