SCHC turns to grants to fix roof

Published 12:45 am Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Southern Cultural Heritage Center is in need of roof repairs and the foundation is turning to grant money to make it happen.

Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation executive director Stacey Massey busily applied for a rare preservation grant by gathering the information she needed to submit for consideration by Friday.

“This is so important for us because it’s our roof and so we’re just hoping we get the grant because we’ve got some roof repair that’s got to be done,” SCHF president Nancy Bell said.

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This particular grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, called the Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program, has only been offered 11 different times since it began in 2001.

“We’re excited that it’s become available at a time that we really need it because roofs are so important to everything on the interior,” Bell said.

Massey said the Mississippi State Legislature approves a Senate bill each year to fund the grant program.

“We also are really appreciative to our state legislature for recognizing the importance of these grants,” Massey said.

The amount of money grant applicants receive is based on the budget they create in their application for the preservation work their facility needs.

“This is one of the few grants out there that will actually allow you to do preservation and work on the property,” Massey said.

The SCHC needs roof repairs or replacement on the academy building, the gymnasium and the convent totaling $181,500. In the grant, they are asking for $145,200 with the foundation and the community working together to raise the last $36,300 or 20 percent.

The application process is extensive with Massey having to acquire estimates on the roof, build the budget, prove the center is nonprofit and get letters of support from the community to “confirm the importance to these buildings here in the community and our mission to offer arts and cultural activities to the community,” Massey said. The city, chamber of commerce, board of supervisors and the local foundation for historic preservation have all written letters of support.

“It makes us feel confident. It reassures us that the community appreciates our mission, appreciates the history and architectural significance of these buildings,” Massey said. “It confirms that, so we are very appreciative.”

The SCHC has received this grant before and it was used to renovate the auditorium and the Cobb House. Massey applies for grants most often from the Mississippi Arts Commission among other smaller grants.

“We have had some luck in the past and we are hoping that we will this time,” Massey said. “We’re hoping that the community will support us in this, especially the matching part of the grant.”

They hope to raise the $36,300 match partially through the Raise the Roof campaign’s all ages talent contest in dance, music, comedy, drama and voice, which has been rescheduled for February.

“We’re still hoping that that whole campaign will be a success and help us to raise that match,” Massey said.

Massey will find out in December if they have been awarded the grant.