COVENTRY — The Coventry Historic Preservation Commission is on a mission to have the areas of Arkwright-Harris and Greene added to the nation’s official list of historic places worthy of preservation.

By applying for a matching grant from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, the commission hopes that it might have a shot at getting those areas of town designated as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places.

During its meeting Tuesday, the Coventry Town Council voted 4-0, with councilor Jennifer Ludwig absent, to commit to allocating $5,000 within the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to be used as a funding match in the event that the town’s historic preservation grant application is successful. 

For Norma Smith, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, the goal by obtaining these historic designations is to foster “a sense of place,” she told councilors Tuesday. 

“We need to be proud of our town,” Smith said. “We need to recognize its significance; what’s come before us, what we’re doing now, and where we’re going in the future.”

“We need to value our history,” she continued. 

The Historic Preservation Commission feels that Arkwright-Harris and Greene are two of Coventry's most historically significant areas, commission member Erin Brewster said. 

The commission is hoping that with $10,000 — $5,000 from the grant it plans to apply for, plus the match from the town — it can hire a preservation consultant to research and prepare the documentation necessary to nominate those districts for addition to the National Register of Historic Places. 

If the commission succeeds in adding Arkwright-Harris and Greene to the list, the areas will join Anthony Village as nationally-recognized historic districts within Coventry.

Brewster said she expects the commission should learn whether it will receive the grant in March, and the funds should be released in June. 

The town council also on Tuesday authorized Brewster to submit the grant application on the town’s behalf. 

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