Ebey’s Forever Fund needs $13,000 for preservation goal

With a little more than three weeks to go, a group of volunteers is hoping to raise approximately $13,000 to meet its goal for a fund to benefit restoration projects in Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

The Ebey’s Forever Fund was introduced in late 2009 when the Pickard family chipped in a $50,000 challenge donation with the hopes of the amount doubling by the end of 2010.

The fund is designed to give owners of historic homes a little financial assistance to maintain and preserve significant structures located within the historic reserve.

Mark Preiss, manager of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, said 90 percent of the approximately 450 listed historic structures are privately owned.

The fund would help private property owners defray the high cost of rehabilitating old structures.

“These buildings are reaching the end of the natural life,” said Jan Pickard, member of the fund committee.

Preiss said approximately 30 structures, ranging from agriculture buildings to contributing structures and homes, have toppled since the Reserve came into existence 32 years ago. One notable case took place in 2007 when the Vaughn house, a farmhouse built in the early 20th century, was demolished after its owner claimed a financial hardship when faced with the prospect of renovating the historic structure.

Recently preservationists were alarmed when local builder Ted Clifton applied for a permit to demolish or relocate the Libbey House located near the county elections office on North Main Street. A decision has yet to be reached on the permit.

Since the announcement for the Ebey’s Forever Fund was made more than a year ago, additional money was raised through mailings and through an auction at the Ebey’s Forever Conference that took place in November.

Organizers are sending out a mailing pointing out that their goal would be reached if 130 people contributed $100.

Committee member Connie Wolfe said the hope is that fund will eventually grow large enough to create an endowment that would provide regular revenue to be doled out to private preservation projects.

Reserve officials are preparing to make the first round of grant awards in early 2011.

Preiss said a workshop for owners of historic properties interested in the funding is scheduled for Jan. 22 at the Coupeville Library beginning at 9 a.m.

For more information about the Ebey’s Forever Fund, call 678-6084. Donations may be mailed to the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, P.O. Box 774, Coupeville, WA, 98239.

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