The Morrill Bank building in Kent is one of 20 finalists in National Geographic’s Vote Your Main Street competition, the City of Kent recently announced.
The historic sites that receive the most public votes will be awarded a share of $2 million from Partners in Preservation, an organization created by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Built more than 100 years ago, the Morrill Bank building was Kent’s first bank. If the project receives funding, the space will be restored to its vintage facade from 1924, with a two-story entry, arched windows, and clinker brick, according to the city.
“With the community’s support, we have a unique opportunity to restore a downtown treasure. It would take much longer to raise this kind of money on our own,” said Barbara Smith, executive director for the Kent Downtown Partnership. “By preserving this historic site, we honor our city’s history and diversity.”
The building houses the Ubuntu Street Café, run by the nonprofit Project Feast, which offers a culinary training program to refugees and immigrants.
With a population of more than 128,000, Kent is the sixth largest city in the state and one of the most diverse mid-sized cities in the country.
“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.
Vote for the Morrill Building project here, or text “MAINSTREET” to 52886.