**UPDATE** 8 local groups could share $50K in Tacoma historic preservation grants

Eight local historic preservation organizations could share $50,000 in grant funding to help pay for a variety of heritage projects and programs.

The funding is part of the City of Tacoma’s Heritage Project Grant Program, which was introduced in January and aimed to provide matching grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to support organizations and projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma’s history (see “**UPDATE** Tacoma to introduce $50K historic preservation grant program,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 18, 2015). The City is using $50,000 in contingency funds set aside by Tacoma City Council last summer to fund the program. A grant application workshop was held in January, and the deadline to apply for grants expired in February.


Information prepared by City staff shows nine organizations applied for grants, and a panel met in March to review the applications and make funding recommendations. The organizations, projects, and funding recommendations are as follows:

ORGANIZATION: Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
PROJECT: An exhibit that illustrates the significance of the preservation and relocation of the Fort’s historic buildings.

PROJECT: The annual Pioneer Days Festival, which highlights Job Carr and Tacoma’s pioneer history.

ORGANIZATION: Buffalo Soldiers Museum
PROJECT: An event to increase awareness of the Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen, as well as honor Pierce County’s military history.

PROJECT: Historic Structures Report prepared by Artifacts Consulting to guide future upgrades and maintenance decisions.

ORGANIZATION: Tacoma Historical Society
PROJECT: Development and installation of three exhibits on Tacoma’s history and a companion book on Tacoma’s Jewish history.

ORGANIZATION: NW Leadership Foundation
PROJECT: Development of Back Stage Pass, a bus tour of historical sites related to social justice in Tacoma.

ORGANIZATION: Foss Waterway Seaport
PROJECT: Development and installation of a new exhibit focusing on the life of the Puyallup People along the waterfront.

ORGANIZATION: Shanaman Sports Museum
PROJECT: The transferring of archival material into an online Sports Museum Flipbook.

ORGANIZATION: Lakewood Historical Society
PROJECT: A DVD program that showcases the role Lakewood’s Lakes District played in Tacoma’s early history.


Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to review the funding recommendations during a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Weds., April 13, at the Tacoma Municipal Building, located at 747 Market St. (Room 248), in downtown Tacoma. More information is available online here.

Heritage organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County have benefited from similar programs over the years.

In November, Pierce County Council approved a resolution awarding just over $100,000 to 14 local historic preservation organizations to help pay for a variety of local heritage projects and programs (see “14 Pierce County groups will share $100K for historic preservation projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 24, 2015).

Since 1997, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserves Fund program has awarded $25,050 to nearly two-dozen local historic preservation organizations in Tacoma and Pierce County to help pay for a variety of local heritage projects and programs (see “Coastal Heritage Alliance awarded Washington Trust historic preservation grant,” Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 9, 2015).

UPDATE | THURS., APRIL 14 @ 9 A.M. — During a public meeting Wednesday at Tacoma City Hall, Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the funding recommendations for the eight organizations and projects listed above. Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Katie Chase did not vote on the funding recommendations because she is a partner and architectural historian at Artifacts Consulting, which will prepare a Historic Structures Report for Urban Grace using $4,050 in grant funding. Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight noted the City’s Historic Preservation Office hadn’t issued grants in some 15 years, and he planned to submit a budget request in the future to continue the program next year. Here are some comments from the meeting:

Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Lysa Schloesser
“It was a very interesting process. We had some really great submissions. It was exciting to see that we were able to give money to all but one, which was really only because they were in Lakewood. So they were out. I think they were all very worthy and I’m excited to see what they do with the money we have given them.”

Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commissioner James Steel
“The multi-cultural variety that is in here is awesome to see. There are so many ethnic groups that are represented. Especially the Foss Waterway Seaport [and their] exhibit on the Puyallup People along the waterfront. That’s really exciting.”

Tacoma Historic Preservation Officer Reuben McKnight
“We want to be able to successfully grant all these projects and be able to have them be successfully implemented. I think right now we are going to be putting in a budget request to continue this program because we had good responses the first time through. We’re new to this because the Historic Preservation Office hasn’t issued grants for probably fifteen years or more. We’d like to continue doing that. This particular piece of funding is one—time. But if we’re successful, hopefully we can get a re-appropriated budget allocation for it because there is a need out there.”

UPDATE | TUES., APRIL 19 @ 1:45 P.M. — The official press release from the City of Tacoma announcing the 2016 Heritage Project Grant Award Recipients online here.

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.