Pierce County Landmarks Commission approves grant funding recommendations

The Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission (LHPC) has announced it will recommend 15 organizations receive approximately $170,000 in grant funding for historic preservation projects throughout Pierce County.

In an e-mail sent Monday to all grant applicants, historic preservation officer Julia Park said the LHPC evaluated 22 grant applications July 12, and the commission unanimously approved the 15 grant recommendations. Another application was recommended for approval, but will be held contingency in case another project is not completed.

In Tacoma, $36,500 will be spent on projects that include artifact conservation at Fort Nisqually, newspaper clipping preservation by Tacoma Public Library, and a monument plaque for Allen C. Mason Plaza requested by the Tacoma Historical Society.

Seven applications — including one completed by Historic Tacoma, and another completed by local developer Gintz Group — did not receive recommendations for funding.

Historic Tacoma requested $16,385 (with a 50 percent match requirement) to complete an inventory of Tacoma’s pre-1960 schools and write nomination applications that would add historically significant school buildings to the City of Tacoma’s historic register, according to Historic Tacoma board president Sharon Winters.

Gintz Group applied for funding that would assist with their restoration of the former Luzon Building in downtown Tacoma.

The commission’s recommendations will be forwarded to Pierce County Council for final review and adoption by resolution.

The LHPC’s recommendations include:

— Artifact Conservation – Fort Nisqually ($4,500)

— Historic District Signage – Town of Steilacoom ($14,434)

— Wilkeson Centennial Monument – Town of Wilkeson’s Wilkeson Centennial Committee  ($10,000)

— Browns Point Light Keeper’s Buildings Preservation, Safety and Security Improvements – Points Northeast Historical Society ($6,325)

— Restoration of Anderson Island School – Anderson Island Park and Recreation District ($25,000)

— Bonney Lake Historical Markers – City of Bonney Lake ($8,750)

— Gig Harbor WPA Facility Re-Roofing – City of Gig Harbor ($15,776)

— New Roof for the Prairie House Museum Building – Spanaway Historical Society ($4,879.68)

— Newspaper Clipping Preservation – Tacoma Public Library ($7,000)

— Downtown Puyallup Historic Facade Program – Puyallup Main Street Association ($22,000)

— F/V Shenandoah Restoration – Harbor History Museum ($25,000)

— Allen C. Mason Plaza – Tacoma Historical Society ($25,000)

— Wagon Shop Restoration – Steilacoom Historical Museum Association ($5,000)

— Reroof Historic 1912 Farmhouse – Anderson Island Historical Society ($5,498)

— The Anderson Homestead Cabin Restoration – Pioneer Farm Museum ($15,000)

Funding for the grant program traces back to the state Legislature, which passed a law in 2006 directing $1 of a $5-dollar filing fee toward general historic preservation. As of last year, the county had accrued approximately $912,000. Approximately $342,000 was directed to county departments for document storage and retention, leaving $570,000 for preservation.

Last fall, an ad hoc committee of preservationists recommended the funds be used to conduct a county-wide survey of existing historical buildings; identify historic documents within the county in danger of being discarded or destroyed, and preserve them; turn the county’s half-time preservation officer position into a full-time job; hire a dedicated half-time grant writer; create a grant program; and increase the number of landmarks commissioners from nine to eleven.

In April, the Index examined the issue of Pierce County historic preservation in a feature article published in this newspaper (“Behind The Times,” 04/02/08) and on Exit133.com.
To read the article, visit http://www.exit133.com/3064/behind-the-times .