Published: Oct 19, 2010 10:39 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 19, 2010 7:08 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Fixing up a historic house can be costly, but Lee County now has $50,000 up for grabs. The money will be used to make sure Southwest Florida's history is well-kept.

The floorboards may be broken and the ceiling exposed, but folks from the Estero Historical Society have big plans for a little house.

"The schoolhouse will be used for tours for school children and anyone really," said John Yarbrough, who heads the Estero Historical Society.

Estero's first schoolhouse dates back to 1904, but renovation will likely cost $80,000. Now money is available as part of a Lee County grant to keep the area's historic treasures preserved.

"Now, actually who would actually get funded would depend on the historic significance of the structure, and the degree of endangerment to the structure," said Lee County principal planner Gloria Sajgo.

The $50,000 will likely be split up between different projects picked by county commissioners. For a site to be selected, it has to be a designated historic site, and usually be at least 50 years old.

"Normally, it goes toward the expenses of structural work, roofs, sidings, foundation, that type of thing are a priority," Sajgo said.

It's money Estero's historical society is eyeing. The funds would have to be matched, but they would help fix up a local gem.

"In the end, these are the only two historic houses left in Estero, I'm fairly certain of that. If our organization doesn't do it, it's just not going to get done," Yarbrough said.

Applications to qualify for Lee County Historic Preservation grants are due by December 3rd at the Lee County Planning division. To get an application and for more information on qualifications, contact the Lee County Planning Division at 533-8118.