11 Tacoma, Pierce County groups awarded $54K for historic preservation projects

Eleven local organizations with stakes in historic preservation received a financial boost Tuesday when Pierce County Council approved nearly $54,000 in grant funding to help pay for a variety of historic projects and programming.

The funding is part of the Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission’s preservation grant program, which aims to fund preservation efforts countywide by encouraging non-profit organizations, public agencies, and owners of properties listed on local historic registers to request grants of up to $5,000 for historic preservation or history-related project proposals. Matching funds must be provided by the applicants.

Funding for the grant program is provided by state legislation enacted in 2005 that directs $1 of a $5 filing fee toward historic preservation and historical programming. The commission identified $60,000 in filing fees directed to Pierce County to fund this year’s grant program.

For this round of grant funding, applications were accepted through July 2. The commission held public meetings on July 10 and Aug. 14 to evaluate 14 grant applications in detail and unanimously recommended funding the following 11 grant proposals:

Preservation Project — Bonney Lake Historical Society $5,000;

Pantages Theater Elevator Safety & Access Improvements — Broadway Center for the Performing Arts $5,000;

Meeker Mansion Exterior Window Sill Replacement — Ezra Meeker Society $5,000;

Granary Stabilization-Living History Museum — Fort Nisqually Foundation $5,000;

Maritime Interactive Program — Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society $5,000;

Wagner House Roof Maintenance — Friends of Lakewood $3,770;

Electrical Service Replacement-Historic Dash Point School — Northpoint Co-operative Pre-school $5,000;

Tacoma Historic Collection Preservation — Tacoma Historical Society $4,670.68;

Historic Architectural Plans & Drawings Preservation Supplies — Tacoma Public Library $5,000;

Steilacoom Historic District Digitized Walking Tour — Town of Steilacoom $5,000;

Morse Wildlife Preserve Barn Roof Repair — Forterra NW $5,000.

In total, $53,440.68 was awarded to the organizations.

Sean Gaffney, a supervisor in Pierce County’s planning and land services department, told councilmembers the landmarks commission “truly appreciates the funding they receive each year and they are really excited to get this money back out into the community.” He also noted the amount of funding is less than it was four years ago, which was the last time funding was awarded through the program. At that time, the county awarded $194,162.68 to 15 organizations. “The amount may be small, but we’re trying to disburse it throughout the county. I think people look forward to [the funding] and they look for ways to get the money back into the projects and hopefully get more projects on the historical register.”

Downtown Tacoma's Pantages Theater. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)