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Heritage association secures former parsonage on Bank Road

By NATALIE MARTIN

The Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association has secured the historic house on Bank Road that it has been fundraising to purchase for use as an interpretive center.

The nonprofit is now under contract to purchase the house for $450,000. The sale is expected to close in early July.

“It’s so exciting,” said Deb Dammann, the president of the heritage association. “And it’s so exciting to have this support from the community and to have the support for the vision of creating this heritage education center.”

The heritage association has long had its eye on the 1910-era house on Bank Road just west of the heritage museum. Historically, the home was the parsonage of the small Lutheran church where the heritage museum is now housed. A couple months ago members learned the house would go on the market and quickly launched a campaign to raise $195,000 for a down payment.

As of Monday, the group had raised $165,000 in pledges, including a $40,000 grant from King County 4Culture.

The house, owned by islander Bruce Kleiman since 1988, went on the market for $449,000 in late April, and there were other parties interested in the property, Dammann said. The heritage association signed a contract to purchase it on May 6.

“Luckily ours was the best offer he got,” Dammann said.

The association is now asking donors to fulfill pledges they made and will also work to raise $30,000 more to round out the down payment. If they can’t raise the final funds, Dammann said, the association’s board is prepared to dip into its reserve account.

“I really think the pledges are going to come in and we’re going to make it, but we have this emergency fund to guarantee we’re going to make it,” she said.

The nonprofit plans to rent the home back to Kleiman for a few months then to rent it for a time to another person or family to help pay off the mortgage. It will likely put forward another fundraising campaign in the future to transform the house, which is in good condition, into a family-friendly interpretive center.

Dammann said she believes that the fundraiser has been successful in part because the heritage association has not previously fundraised much in the community, operating off of member pledges and grants.

“It’s only at this point that we’ve made this effort to expand that we’ve done ... fundraising. It’s been remarkable,” she said.

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