Notes from our February 6th Grange meeting: The important news from this meeting is that there may be monies available from some organizations to rehabilitate and preserve the old Grange building--if we qualify and IF we can get the county commissioners to rent the Grange to us (for a very reasonable yearly sum, that is!). I wrote to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), now called the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the following is a summary (with some edits for clarity) of their reply:
The short answer to your question about funding for the Grange Hall is “no” there currently is not a funding program through DAHP for rehabilitation, renovation, and preservation work at the hall.
However, the longer answer is that there are other programs out there that may be worth pursuing:
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (http://preservewa.org/Washington-Preserves-Fund.aspx) has its Washington Preserves Fund for small rehabilitation projects. I see from the website that applications for 2012 are due in October, so you have time to plan your application. Grants have tend to be small ( in the $500 to $1,000 range) but may be worth checking into.
The Kinsman Foundation in Portland is interested in giving grants for historic preservation projects. Check out their website at: http://kinsmanfoundation.org/ for more information about grant requirements and application procedures.
The Heritage Capital Grant program is probably the most likely source for substantial funding for preservation projects. The program is administered by the Washington State Historical Society. Go to the website at http://www.washingtonhistory.org/heritageservices/grants.aspx for information and getting on mailing lists for the application workshops coming up this spring. As a note, this program has been hit by budget cuts in recent years and therefore available funds are more difficult and competitive to obtain.
Finally, you should be aware that there is much discussion in the current State Legislature about the State selling bonds to finance some construction projects that are “shovel ready.” Our hope is that if this comes about, it will include some funding for historic properties. Rep. Hans Dunshee is the primary sponsor behind the program. You might want to contact your state representative for more information about the status of the proposal.
In regard to the above programs, funding for projects is often targeted to properties that have a historic designation, such as listing in the National Register of Historic Places, Washington Heritage Register, or a determination of eligibility for the Registers. There is no information on the Grange Hall in the WISAARD historic property inventory database. So, you are encouraged to provide us with any photographs of the building so that its eligibility can be assessed. If you are interested in doing so, simply email some digital photos (interior shots as well) so that DAHP can provide you with an assessment as to whether the hall might be eligible for the Registers.
So, this is where we are at. We have an opportunity to revive the Stevenson Grange #121 for our community. I believe, and so do others, that this Grange can serve as a community focal point for all the various groups that are now out there, gestating in their own efforts. The Grange can serve as a place for community gatherings, educational venues, etc., and as an umbrella for all those efforts to connect with our Earth. The Grange can offer structure and organization to all our efforts. If you are interested in this community revival, please come to the March 5th meeting and meet your neighbors.