Current public policy advocacy efforts:
Grant Programs – In partnership with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Washington Trust is proud to administer the Heritage Barn Initiative, Historic Courthouse Program, and Historic Cemetery Grant Program, funding rehabilitation projects across the state. To date, these programs have supported the preservation of 103 barns, 26 courthouses (through 59 individual grants), and 22 cemeteries, and there’s much more work to be done. All three programs have been included in the 2019-2021 proposed budgets put forth by Governor Inslee, the State House of Representatives and the State Senate. Contact your legislators and request these programs be included in the final budget! For more information, visit our Grant Programs page.
Washington State Main Street Program – The Washington Trust is proud to administer and operate the Washington State Main Street Program, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). Comprised of 34 Communities and 28 Affiliates, Washington Main Street is a major driver of downtown revitalization, economic development, and community placemaking in Washington State. Currently, however, the program is stretched thin. Whereas National Main Street Center standards recommend one staff person per 10 towns served, Washington Main Street has only one staff person serving the entire roster of 60+ Communities and Affiliates. DAHP requested additional program support in the amount of $120,000 for the biennium from the state legislature. This level funding is included in the proposed House budget. The proposed Senate budget is even more hopeful, as it includes $240,000 in additional funding for the biennium. Increased funding levels will enable Washington Main Street to hire another staff person and to provide much-needed additional resources. For more information about Washington Main Street, visit our Main Street page.
America’s Great Outdoors Act (S. 3422, H.R 7092) – The National Park Service (NPS) manages more than 400 national park units—iconic landscapes, historic and cultural sites, trails, military battlegrounds, monuments, and memorials—throughout the country. For years, our national parks and public lands have been suffering from deteriorating infrastructure like roads, visitor centers, and trails. The problem, exacerbated by increasing visitation pressures and inconsistent annual funding, led to nearly $12 billion in backlog in repair needs in America’s national parks, 43% of which is attributed to historic resources, and the backlog increases to over $20 billion when including other public lands.
The Washington Trust is thrilled that on June 17, 2020, the Senate passed the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act by a 73-25 vote. This act will help address the significant deferred maintenance needs that exist in our national park and public lands infrastructure—including thousands of historic buildings. The bill also includes directs full funding on an annual basis for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bill is currently in the House of Representatives which is expected to take action sometime in July. More info here.
Historic Tax Credit – The national preservation community recently rallied to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit that has created more than 2.4 million jobs and leveraged over $131 billion in private investment.
Lobby Day – The Washington Trust coordinates and provides travel scholarships for grassroots preservation advocates to attend Preservation Advocacy Week (aka Lobby Day) in Washington, DC every March. Convening a grassroots group of citizen advocates, we meet with our Washington Congressional delegation and their staff, providing key information on federal preservation issues and sharing examples of the tangible benefits of historic preservation, including putting local craftsmen to work, bringing new life to abandoned and underutilized buildings, leveraging millions of dollars in private reinvestment, and generating economic development. By working together with a cohesive message in support of preservation-positive legislation, we strive to ensure a strong future for our federal historic preservation programs. For more information, visit our Lobby Day page.