OLYMPIA, Wash. — The state has spent $1 million helping restore 46 historic barns in the past six years and now is seeking applications to award more grants totaling $500,000.
Barns must more than 50 years old and listed on state Heritage Barn Register, the Washington Heritage Register or the National Register of Historic Places to be eligible for a grant through the state Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.
Grants have averaged $21,000 per barn and ranged from $2,500 to $44,000, said Chris Moore, field director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation in Seattle that contracts with the department to administer the Heritage Barn Rehabilitation Grant Program.
“The committee is not shy about recommending significant grant awards,” he said.
A committee made up of representatives of the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, the Washington Association of County Officials, the Washington State Association of Counties and two barn owners review applications and recommend funding to Allyson Brooks, director of the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.
Brooks will make the final selections early in 2014 for about a dozen grants for the 2013-2015 biennium, Moore said.
Moore said he expects 75 to 100 applications because the program is popular. Grants are matched, 50-50, with cash or in-kind labor and services by barn owners, he said. There are no restrictions or regulatory bearing on receiving a grant, he said.
The process is competitive and the committee considers historical significance, urgency of needed repairs, provision for long-term preservation and continued agricultural use, he said.
“The Heritage Barn Preservation Initiative has saved historic barns, raised awareness and educated the public about the role agriculture continues to play in economic development and heritage tourism,” Brooks said.
There are 512 barns on the Heritage Barn Register with at least one in every county, Moore said. Skagit County leads with 55 heritage barns and Pierce County is a close second with 52, he said.
The oldest barn on the register is one near Rochester in Thurston County at 1859, Moore said. The next are 1860, 1864 and 1869 all in Walla Walla County, he said.