A national grant program dedicated to the rehabilitation of historic properties and preserving community resources is being renamed the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants program in honor of the Vermonter who dedicated his life to preserving the legacy and historic icons of rural America.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was behind the name change and also led in creating the grant program itself. Leahy included the naming provision in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, the annual budget bill that funds the Interior Department and other agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved the bill, which goes next to the full Senate.
“Paul Bruhn was one of the finest Vermonters I ever worked with and one of the best friends Marcelle and I have ever had,” Leahy said. “He was a champion of historic preservation and leaves our state a legacy that is preserved in brick, mortar, stone and wood. Paul knew that historic preservation is not a cost for saving the past, but a wise investment in the future. Renaming this program is a fitting gesture of our appreciation for what Paul did for our state and our country.”
Bruhn was a longtime friend and advisor of Leahy’s, serving as his campaign manager in 1974 and later as his first chief of staff in Washington. After leaving Washington in 1980, Bruhn co-founded the Preservation Trust of Vermont and served as its Executive Director until his passing last week at the age of 72. It was his work in Vermont that was a foundation for Leahy’s creation of the Historic Revitalization grant program in 2018. Bruhn earlier had partnered with Leahy in organizing dozens of projects across Vermont to help revitalize town centers, while conserving Vermont’s history and Vermonters’ heritage. Bruhn and Leahy received an award for these efforts from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.