By Will Rubin [email protected]
Centralia City Council is expected to approve a grant agreement with the state’s Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation on Tuesday for $ 27,238 in public funds to be used in conjunction with the efforts of the George Washington Bicentennial Committee to renovate the cemetery by Washington Lawn.
Councilors voted unanimously earlier this year to sponsor the committee’s request for a capital grant for the preservation of the historic cemetery that requested approximately $ 41,000 for three specific projects at the cemetery. Two of the three – the installation of a concrete walkway and curb around the family Washington plot, and the restoration of six 150-year-old limestone headstones – will be funded by the grant.
Committee member Bob Russell led the grant application process and says he looks forward to seeing the effort pay off.
“It will basically create a triangle where you can go from (the Olympic club) McMenamins to the graveyard to the (George Washington) statue,” Russell said. “This may be one more site on the historic walk around Centralia.”
The George Washington Bicentennial Committee recently completed its efforts to fund and install a statue in Washington Park of Centralia founder George Washington and his wife Mary Jane as part of his bicentennial celebration.
A major point of conversation among committee members over the past few months has been how to support efforts to recognize the Washington family now that the statue is complete.
The George Washington nominated scholarships will be awarded annually by the committee to students of Centralia College.
“Every year they will have to hear the name ‘George Washington’,” Russell said.
Restoring the Washington’s last home will give them another way to involve the community in their efforts.
“This is a neat way to restore and maintain part of Centralia’s heritage and history,” said committee chair Brian Mittge. “We’ve cleaned it up a lot over the past year and a half. We’ve done a lot of repair work, we’re looking to invest more in the long term, and it looks like we’re going to be able to do a lot. “
The grant itself will be funded on a reimbursement basis. Centralia sponsored the grant on behalf of the committee, so city funds will be used to pay local workers who submitted bids as part of the grant application.
One, Centralia Monument, has been responsible for making many headstones in Washington Lawn Cemetery for over 100 years.
Russell said he plans to work with Centralia City Manager Rob Hill and Community Development Manager Emil Pierson to get both projects in motion as soon as possible once city council approves the deal. subsidy.
“One of the things I appreciated so much about the community effort to celebrate the life of George Washington was the diversity of the group,” said Russell. “The city has been an integral part and my little piece in it has been extremely rewarding. “