Headstones marking the final resting places of some of Benton County's pioneers are set to be restored using a $10,000 county grant.
The money will pay for work at the West Prosser Cemetery, also known as the Pioneer Cemetery, off Richards Road.
A portion also will cover similar work at the East Prosser Cemetery, primarily in the area containing graves moved from White Bluffs in the early 1940s to make way for the Hanford site.
"It's our responsibility to ensure we show proper respect," said Max Benitz Jr., president of the Prosser Cemetery Association. "It's our heritage."
The Pioneer Cemetery saw its last burial years ago. The Herald in recent years has written more than once about efforts to rein in weeds and reset headstones, and the community has pitched in.
The oldest gravestones date to the 19th century. There are close to 200 headstones total at the cemetery, as far as officials can determine.
The grant is to come from the county's Historical Preservation Fund. County commissioners Tuesday reviewed a list of recommended projects, including the cemetery work, and are expected to approve the grants next week. Contracts with the groups would then be executed.
The Benton County Museum & Historical Society, the Washington State University Foundation and the White Bluffs Quilt Museum also are set to receive grants for projects from textile preservation to oral history digitization. The recommended grants total about $30,780.
Money for the preservation fund comes from a portion of county recording fees. Instead of granting money to supplement an organization's operations, the county looks for one-time projects that may not otherwise get done, said Duane Davidson, county treasurer and chairman of the advisory committee that reviews proposals. The county interviews applicants and requires reporting on how the money is spent.
The county was recognized a few years ago for its program by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald