BELTON, Texas (FOX 44) – The National Trust for Historic Preservation has awarded the City of Belton a $100,000 grant from the Preserving Black Churches grant program.

The City of Belton said Tuesday afternoon that these funds will support the Belton Mount Zion United Methodist Church Preservation and Rehabilitation Project. The project will provide the Church with funding to help preserve the exterior and interior of the original building – including the repair and restoration of siding, windows, roof, doors, flooring, lighting, bell tower, wood ceiling, heating/ventilation, furniture, landscaping and audio/visual equipment.

The Church is located at 218 N. Alexander Street, and is a prominent feature along the Nolan Creek Hike & Bike Trail – in the vicinity of the historic Harris Community Center. The City is partnering with Mount Zion on the project in two ways – as the grant applicant, and by providing funding or in-kind services to assist with the installation of water lines, meters, fire hydrant, dedicated fire service line for a fire sprinkler system, architechtural fees, and waiving of building permit fees up to $10,000.

The full restoration of Mt. Zion is estimated to cost $367,048. Additional funding for the project includes a $75,000 Preservation Texas grant, awarded on September 30, 2022, for Mt. Zion’s exterior. The Preservation Texas grant has a match of $25,000, which will be provided by the Church.

National Historic Grants for Preserving Black Churches are highly competitive. The City’s initial funding proposal was among 1,267 considered by the Trust. In October 2022, Belton was among 79 entities asked to submit a full grant application.

On Monday, in conjuction with the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, the Trust announced it had selected 35 historic churches from across the country for the inaugural grant award for a total investement of $4 million.