Support Historic Theaters!

Dear [title] [last name],

I am writing in support of the creation of a new Historic Theater Grant Program as proposed in Governor Inslee's Capital Budget. While the governor proposed funding this program at $515,000, I believe the need is greater. I stand with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation in advocating for $1,000,000 in funding for historic theaters across Washington State.

Here's why. Theaters across the state have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, essentially forced to go dark for most of 2020 and all of 2021 to date. With no revenue, theater operators are unable to implement critical capital projects, leading to deferred maintenance. Nearly 70% of historic theaters are located in rural jurisdictions with populations less than 50,000, and over half are in economically distressed counties. Creation of a grant program would have a direct impact on rural and distressed communities. State investment in these community beacons is imperative to promoting public mental health and supporting ongoing job creation and employment.

The creation of a matching grant program within the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to support historic theaters would have the following impacts:

  • Support important community icons in historic downtowns, including many Main Street districts
  • Engage local contractors and suppliers in historic rehabilitation projects, thereby creating/ensuring jobs
  • Retain local project expenditures (wages, sales tax, etc.) in the local economy
  • Preserve and restore key architectural features and historical elements that make theaters unique building types

Now more than ever, historic theaters need our state's support if they are to bounce back from the pandemic. Our communities cannot afford to lose these important economic generators and historic treasures. I urge you to support the creation of a new Historic Theater Grant Program under the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and to fully fund this program in the amount of $1,000,000.

Thank you for your consideration,


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