KENT, Wash., September 24, 2018
The Kent community can make history by voting for the Morrill Bank building in the 2018 Partners in Preservation competition, sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation nominated the historic Morrill Bank building, located at the corner of First Avenue South and Gowe Street, and it was selected as one of 20 Main Street projects across the nation competing for $2 million in preservation funding.
“Through Partners in Preservation, we’re showing that Main Street matters and, by preserving these historic sites, we can share our city’s story and diversity in our community,” said Barbara Smith, executive director for Kent Downtown Partnership. “With the community’s support, we have a good chance at winning funding for this beautiful building.”
The Morrill Bank building, Kent’s first bank and a gem in the downtown district, once featured a grand, two-story, arched-window entry and clinker brick.
If the Morrill Bank building project is a top vote getter, it will receive $150,000 in funding to restore to its 1924 appearance, removing the current stucco exterior and restoring the now-covered entry and windows to their original design. Kent Downtown Partnership is raising additional funds to cover costs for additional restoration of the building.
This Main Street project will not only restore the building’s historic character, but it will also let more light into the building which currently provides retail, restaurant and office space on the ground floor and transitional women’s housing on the second floor. Among the local businesses calling the building home is the Ubuntu Street Café, operated by nonprofit Project Feast, who operates a successful refugee and immigrant culinary training program. This organization represents both diversity and opportunity in the Kent community, and a new storefront would help bring visibility to this unique program.
This project is the only finalist in the state, so Washingtonians have an opportunity to make a big impact to secure up to $150,000 in preservation funding. The community can make it happen by voting for the Morrill Bank building up to five times a day at VoteYourMainStreet.org/Kent from September 24 through October 26. As an alternative, Washingtonians can text “MAINSTREET” to 52886. Message and data rates may apply.
“Our city has an amazing history that needs to be preserved and being nominated for this project speaks to that. You can help celebrate our rich history by voting. This funding will help us restore this beautiful building for future generations to enjoy. We can’t make this a reality without your vote, said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.
Kent is the sixth largest city in Washington with a population over 128,000. A culturally rich destination, Kent features captivating neighborhoods, award-winning parks, exceptional school districts and nationally accredited police and fire departments. In recent years, Kent has experienced impressive economic growth, and is nationally known as a prime location for manufacturing. For more information, visit KentWA.gov.