The City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation were recently awarded a $100,000 “Preserve America” grant to assist in funding a yearlong celebration and marketing campaign to promote the Santa Monica Pier’s 100th anniversary, which is September 9th, 2009.

The Preserve America grant program, administered by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service, supports preservation efforts through heritage tourism, education and historic preservation planning to designated Preserve America Communities. The City of Santa Monica was designated as a Preserve America community in 2004.

“This was outstanding news to kick off our 100th anniversary plans,” said Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the work we’re doing on our 100th anniversary events and this funding will go a long way in making sure that this program is worthy of our pier’s 100-year history, and that it features the caliber of events that our residents and visitors both expect and deserve.”

The grant, which requires matching funds to be raised through sponsorship, donations and other sources, will be used to create a calendar of events and educational programs under the theme, “One hundred years in the past, 100 years in the future.”

The celebration is expected to draw visitors and residents into the preservation and celebration of one of the city’s most treasured historic resources, while promoting the pier as a heritage tourism destination and increasing its economic viability, city officials said.

The grant application was a joint effort of the city’s Planning and Community Development Department, which administers the city’s Landmarks Program; the Housing and Economic Development Department, which oversees development of the Santa Monica Pier; and the Pier Restoration Corporation.

Preserve America grants assist communities with marketing, planning and educational programs designed to increase awareness of historical assets and promote heritage tourism, with the goal of strengthening regional identities, community pride and economic viability.

The program recognizes communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic devel- opment and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs.