Vote to Preserve Tacoma’s Spanish Steps!

Through May 12th, you can help secure grant funding to renovate and preserve Tacoma’s own Spanish Steps. The Steps– located at South 7th & Commerce Street next to the Old Elks building–are one of 25 Landmark Finalists in the Partners in Preservation Seattle-Puget Sound Initiative.

Vote daily to help preserve Tacoma's historic Spanish Steps.

How to Vote for the Spanish Steps:
Go to www.preservationnation.org/partners-in-preservation/seattle
and click on “cast your vote.”
Once you register via email, you can vote once a day until May 12th, 2010.
Other landmark finalists include Tacoma’s Titlow Park Lodge and Schooner Adventures, as well as several locations in Seattle, Gig Harbor, Kirkland, Orting, and Anderson Island.

About the Initiative, from the Partners in Preservation website:
“Launched in 2006, Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, pledged $5.5 million over a five-year period toward preserving historic places throughout the United States.  American Express has already allocated more than $3.4 million in preservation grants, which has allowed recipients to make significant progress in achieving their preservation goals. American Express has also given $1.1 million to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to support its work helping people save the places that matter to them, all across the country. [In 2010] the initiative comes to the Puget Sound.”

About the Spanish Steps, from the Partners in Preservation website:
“What is the historical significance of this site? The Steps, built in 1916 in the Beaux Arts manner, are modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome and are an exemplary extension of the character of the Classical buildings clustered at the north end of downtown Tacoma.  A rare artifact of the progressive City Beautiful movement, the steps have been a community gathering place for generations.

“Why does this site need your support? The Spanish Steps are crucial to the walkability of Tacoma, but have deteriorated as a result of neglect and vandalism.  Along with the Elks Building, the restoration of the Steps and surrounding gardens will preserve the site as a community landmark by beautifying as well as stabilizing the surrounding area.  A Partners in Preservation grant will help assure that a symbol of Tacoma rise to economic prosperity in the early 20th century will contribute to renewed vitality in the 21st century.”

Spanish Steps. Photo Tacoma News Tribune.

Each landmark property must meet several conditions to considered eligible for the funding. For example:

  • Each property must be accessible to the public and eligible for national or Washington state historic registry,  as well as “represent a compelling story that reflects the rich diversity of the Seattle-Puget Sound area.”
  • Each project must be ” part of a coherent and sustainable preservation plan.”
  • Each project sponsor must be a government or not-for-profit organization with proven success in similar community projects and outreach events.

Vote early and vote often. Personally, I’m alternating between the Spanish Steps and Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks Park in Kent.

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