The folks who try to rescue old landmark buildings, barns and the like have been chronically short of change, at least around here.
They had few alternatives to offer, for example, when MultiCare bought Tacoma’s First United Methodist church last year and tore it down.
One of those folks, Michael Sullivan, laments that in Pierce County government, “We’ve only got a half-time person dealing with all the preservation issues.”
Some help may be on the way. With little fanfare, the 2005 Legislature imposed a $5 surcharge on all real estate filings in the state. Four dollars of that pays for historic records; the fifth can be used for general preservation efforts.
In Pierce County, the $1 per filing adds up to about $300,000 a year. By the end of 2007, roughly $600,000 will be available for historic preservation and related effortrs.
Finally, says Sullivan, “We have enough money to do something important.”
It’s also enough money to fight over. There are many potentially conflicting preservation priorities in Pierce County. County Councilman Tim Farrell is heading a committee trying to find a way to pass out the dollars. Stay tuned.