Old Hotel Art Gallery in the middle of outside facelift

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Courtesy photo The new handrail is part of a much larger project the Old Hotel Art Gallery in Othello is doing to improve the historic hotel and grounds.

Othello — The Old Hotel Art Gallery recently installed a new handrail. But this isn’t just any handrail. This is a custom-made support that is part of a larger project that has a final bill of $56,000.

The new handrail is part of a much larger project the Old Hotel Art Gallery in Othello is doing to improve the historic hotel and grounds.

“We got this grant through the Heritage Capital Projects, a legislative grant,” said Jenn Stevenson, director of the Old Hotel Art Gallery. “They match $1 for every $2 you can raise. We got $56,000 from them. We have a new porch, new stairs and a new sidewalk. Part of the parking lot has been paved. We still have an ADA ramp we are working on. We also have to re-landscape.”

The Old Hotel was able to count both money and man-hours donated over the past five to seven years towards the grant.

“It’s things the community has supported,” Stevenson said. “We have new siding, roof work, new windows and lots of lighting projects. We have a drought tolerant garden in the back put in by the WSU Master Gardeners. As long as the funding didn’t come from the state, it counted.”

Writing the grant wasn’t easy. It took Stevenson two years to write the grant. During that time, she attended grant-writing workshops and documented donated funds and man-hours. The result was a 192-page document.

“My cycle had 35 entries,” said Stevenson.

The Washington State Historical Society, the facilitators of the grant, rates each grant proposal with scores of up to 100 points. A panel of judges reads through each proposal and then talks about them at a public meeting.

“They talk about them in the order of the scores they received,” Stevenson said. “For my first grant request ever, I got 84 points. I got a B!”

Out of the 35 requests, the Old Hotel Art Gallery came in 24th.

When the funds were approved, Stevenson had to find a company to make the custom handrail. After talking to several businesses, Tin Roof Blacksmith of Moses Lake, agreed to do the job. The handrail design includes cranes, a sun and cattails.

“We sell stuff on consignment for Tin Roof,” said Stevenson. “It is perfect!”

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