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Grants save historic Central Whidbey barn

By RECORD STAFF

A community supported grant program is giving one of Central Whidbey’s most recognizable and historic structures a new lease on life.

Workers recently began installing a new metal roof on the Smith Barn at Willowood Farm, which is located about one mile south of town in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

According to the farm’s owner Georgie Smith, the project was possible due to money from the Ebey’s Forever Fund. The pot of money is generated from local donations and awarded to owners of threatened historic structures.

The exact age of the Smith Barn is unknown, but Smith says it’s believed to be at least 100 years old.

A new roof was expected to cost at least $30,000, so Smith applied for Ebey’s Forever Fund money, a program that has only been around for two years.

“We knew we couldn’t afford it from the get go,” she said.

That money was then leveraged for a Heritage Barn Grant, a program administered though the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, which was used to replace the structure’s old doors.

Altogether, the Smiths received about $29,000 from the two funds. Both grants required a 50 percent match from the Smiths. The total investment cost about $58,000.

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