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03/02/2021 04C Consideration of Letter of Support for Yakima Valley TrolleysB US INE S S O F T HE C I T Y C O UNC IL YAK I M A, WAS HI NG T O N AG E ND A S TAT E M E NT I tem No. 4.C . F or Meeting of : March 2, 2021 I T E M T IT L E :Consideration of letter of support for Yakima Valley Trolleys S UB M IT T E D B Y:Robert Harrison, City Manager S UM M ARY E X P L ANAT IO N: The Yakima Valley Trolley's has requested the City Council provide a letter of support for YV T 's application to the National Park Service to designate the combined f acilities and rolling stock of the Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YV T ) a National Historic L andmark. A draf t letter of support is attached along with the request and background materials. I T E M B UD G E T E D: S T RAT E G I C P RIO RIT Y: AP P RO V E D F O R S UB M I T TAL B Y T HE C IT Y M ANAG E R RE C O M M E ND AT IO N: A pprove request. AT TAC HM E NT S: D escr iption Upload D ate Type request 2/22/2021 Cover Memo draft 2/26/2021 Cover Memo dept of arc 2/22/2021 Cover Memo YHR 2/22/2021 Cover Memo 1 Yakima Valley Trolleys Ken Johnsen, President February 21, 2021 Honorable Mayor and Members of the Council, I am writing to ask that you write a letter of endorsement for our application to the National Park Service on behalf of the City of Yakima's trolley railroad, the Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YVT), to become a National Historic Landmark. Yakima's trolley railroad is unique in America in that it is the last historically intact early 20th Century electric interurban railroad, of which there were many hundreds everywhere circa 1900. And it is already listed as such on the National Register of Historic Places. There are no other electric interurban railroads left in America that still use all their original infrastructure and streetcars and locomotives. The state Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation has taken note of this fact and recommended that the YVT become a National Historic Landmark. There are only two other National Historic Landmarks in eastern Washington. It is the highest level of national recognition a historic site can attain. Members of the trolley organization have worked diligently over the years to preserve the railroad in its original state because of its rarity. We have had a good working relationship with the City for many years and see this opportunity as a boon to both the railroad and the City of Yakima. There is no cost to the City for the YVT to become a National Historic Landmark, and the opportunities for grants far larger than what we have obtained so far, open up when a property becomes a National Historic Landmark. P.O. Box 796, Yakima, WA 98907 2 Yakima Valley Trolleys Page 2. The Yakima Herald-Republic Newspaper has strongly endorsed our attempt to become a National Historic Landmark. I attach a copy of their editorial. With the recommendation of the Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation (letter also attached) and the endorsement by the City of Yakima, I believe we have a very good chance at becoming eastern Washington's third National Historic Landmark. Both the increased tourism value and the increased opportunities for the YVT to obtain large federal grants for repairs and restorations will be cultural and economic benefits to the City of Yakima many times over. And it will help ensure that Yakima's unique trolley railroad will be preserved for generations to come. I would be happy to work with the City Attorney to help craft the wording of the letter of support if you give the go ahead. Thank you for considering this request. Cordially, Ken Johnsen, President Yakima Valley Trolleys kjohnsen@yakimavalleytrolleys.org (206) 817-4053 3 March 3rd, 2021 Dr. Kenneth Johnson, President Yakima Valley Trolleys P.O. Box 796 Yakima, Washington 98907 Dear Dr. Johnsen, The Yakima City Council and the City of Yakima are proud to wholeheartedly support the application to the National Park Service to designate the combined facilities and rolling stock of the Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YVT) a National Historic Landmark. The YVT is beloved in the Yakima community and for more than a century has served our area. The YVT’s unique status as the last historically intact early 20th century electric interurban railroad in America makes it an ideal candidate for designation as a National Historic Landmark. The remarkable dedication and commitment of many people over the years has ensured the survival of the YVT. The YVT has endured multiple challenges to its continued existence, not the least of which is adequate funding to maintain and operate the historic fleet of streetcars and locomotives, five miles of track and overhead electric lines, and other associated facilities. Being designated a National Historic Landmark would open new doors and create additional funding opportunities for the YVT. The ability of the YVT to be eligible for grants, such as a Save America’s Treasures grant, would be greatly enhanced were the YVT to be given the highest level of historic recognition in the U.S. The YVT’s historic significance was formally recognized nearly three decades ago when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now is the time for the YVT to be recognized for its national significance by being named a National Historic Landmark. The YVT has long been a key element of the tourism industry in the Yakima Valley drawing people from across the country and around the world to experience the enchanting journey between Yakima and Selah aboard a historic streetcar and tour the original electric substation, repair barn, and other YVT facilities. The elevation of the YVT to National Historic Landmark status would undoubtedly boost its impact on tourism in our community. Thank you for the outstanding devotion you and so many other volunteers have demonstrated to make the YVT the jewel of the Yakima Valley that it is. The Yakima City Council and the City of Yakima stand firmly with you in your efforts to have the YVT designated as a National Historic Landmark. Sincerely, Patricia Byers Mayor 4 January 21, 2021 Dr. Kenneth Johnsen, President Yakima Valley Trolleys P.O. Box 796 Yakima, WA 98907 RE: Yakima Valley Trolley Museum – SAT Grant Dear Dr. Johnsen: This letter is being sent in support of a Save America’s Treasures Grant for the Yakima Valley Transportation Company facilities and rolling stock. The facility was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 8, 1992. Initially listed at the statewide level of significance, we believe the operation as a whole, is eligible for listing at the national level of significance, and that it is more than worthy of National Historic Landmark designation. In operation since 1907, the Valley Transportation Company is one of the longest continuously active interurban light rail systems in the United States and the only one that has remained substantially unchanged from its early beginnings. Remarkable is the collection of original operating and repair equipment, a virtual time capsule of an early 20th century transportation system. Over the years it has become an irreplaceable reminder of a type of transportation system that bridged the gap between a horse and buggy nation and a modern automobile society. The Yakima Valley Transportation Company facility is a unique collection of buildings, structures and objects that was explicitly manufactured for Yakima operations. The system includes two original locomotives and two original streetcars, one large car repair barn with attached shops, the original electric substation, one stone shed, one historically significant Pegram Truss bridge, and approximately 5 miles of track and overhead electric lines. Other heritage sites with trolley systems are cobbled together with objects collected from various sources over vast periods. The Yakima Valley Transportation system is original to the city and was never sold off or scrapped. While the Yakima Valley Transportation Company was not an unusual or advanced type of interurban, it serves as a "classical" model of North American interurban electric railroads which were once common throughout the United States. Today, the Yakima Valley Transportation Company is a rare survivor and provides a unique glimpse into the 5 State of Washington • Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation P.O. Box 48343 • Olympia, Washington 98504-8343 • (360) 586-3065 www.dahp.wa.gov history of American technology and transportation, a true American Treasure. If you have any additional questions regarding the designation or significance of the Yakima Valley Transportation Company, please feel free to contact me at (360) 890- 2634. Sincerely, Michael Houser State Architectural Historian, DAHP 360-890-2634 E-Mail: michael.houser@dahp.wa.gov 6 7 e ' I qps9*. Eg **8oE Ei"* EE::ssrE3= €; =€g :F;f;= = t*; '=€:-3;5r=v; iE =:E =Egg3;=tu? ir= il?r-gF i: :?t #g1g€ E=Ef: i.=;*;Xjt;9 E-;iFq iIp=s =E B.t ;:* * tE i t ff gzui ati= ; :E i i+ i, E ; EtI;; H€ =TE I EEi i€ es ri iTgi;E;llE€llIt:€t!! IFEiiA*t i ic E ru ; rE: : : E.: E.i!EE *€l t*r=ie a€E =ri::s =7iz;=€€HtEEEEi F*g+=EEE€Ei-gE:=gE" 9rT*: IEEE'F SH CJ-a: *!i". I - I s :-;iq/:;.=5 o ;'l .9-; 5 : -;--=U;F i = -4GP = e.oE?F=:!rr teEEEnE gE=+;" SE,,!€ *FskFi! 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