• 61°

NEA grant to help restore chamber building

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Artsrepresents the first step in an effort to restore parts of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce building, chamber andBrookhaven Trust officials said.

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Artsrepresents the first step in an effort to restore parts of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce building, chamber andBrookhaven Trust officials said.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s office notified Brookhaven TrustPresident Patti Perkins of the $10,000 grant award Thursday. It wasnot known exactly when the funds would be available.

“I hope the check’s in the mail,” an excited Perkinsquipped.

Jimminette Phillips, with the chamber’s community appearancecommittee, also hailed the grant as exciting news.

“There were two grants given in Mississippi, and we got one ofthem,” Phillips said.

Perkins said a group in Jackson received the other grant.Phillips said the NEA grant will be matched locally with in-kindassistance.

The joint chamber-trust project is focusing on refurbishing theupstairs section of the chamber building, which is the old cityhall, and the old city fire station, which is also part of thehistoric structure.

“This is the first step,” Phillips said. “This will help fundthe architect’s plan for the project.”

Phillips said architect Larry Albert, who designed theMississippi School of the Arts, is assisting with the project.

Possibilities discussed during an earlier brainstorming sessionincluded a mini convention center, meeting rooms and a museum tohighlight the area and its history, Phillips said. She added thegrant will help lay the groundwork to develop the plan and seekadditional grants to carry it out.

Phillips credited Homer Richardson and MSA Director Dr. VickiBodenhamer for their help in writing the grant.

Citing Albert’s comments, Phillips said the chamber wasfortunate in that the building has not been heavily remodeled overthe years. She said the chamber of commerce is the tourist centerfor the community and the building is in need of refurbishing.

“We need to fix it up,” Phillips said. “That’s the welcomestation for Brookhaven.”