Greetings MissPresers! We’re about to be on the “downhill” side of Summer – so I think it’s safe to start planning some Autumn outings to see some of our favorite Mississippi Places. As we start to hear about events, we’ll be sure they are added to the MissPres Calendar.
I’m going to start our news with some follow up from early last week when the Hinds County Armory in Jackson was our featured post. If you recall, this post noted that the State Fair Commission would be meeting to discuss the fate of the neglected building. Besides our post (which we got from our friends at Mississippi Heritage Trust), there were several news stories on the meeting – this one and this one which were short versions of what we posted and just focused on the fact that there would be a meeting to discuss accepting funds from MDAH for the building. I was also pleased to see a much longer piece that relied heavily on information from representatives of MDAH and MHT and, of course, favored saving the building. A follow-up story indicated that the Fair Commission voted to accept the $600,000 grant from MDAH to help stabilize the landmark building. I’m going to wait on doing my victory dance until I see work actually start on the building – but I am thrilled that we seem to be started on a good track to save this endangered building.
Another building’s fate we’ve been following for a while here on MissPres is the 33rd Avenue School in Gulfport. The most recent story was about a meeting held to discuss where things stand with the project – which is basically that the Department of Labor is re-initiating the Section 106 process. DOL was not at this meeting, although it sounded like they sent some kind of report, but the Alumni Association which has been very vocal about wanting the building saved, was on hand. The buildings do need quite a bit of work because of Katrina (all parties at this meeting acknowledged that), however, the “heart” of the building is still there and preservationists continue to hope that a good compromise can come out of this.
Another historic building, this time in Meridian, might be in danger. The story is about Fire Station No. 2 – which councilmen say is inadequate to meet the needs of the firefighters based there. These councilmen are pushing for the building’s replacement – but the story is unclear on whether they mean to build a new, larger facility in the area and vacate the current structure or if they want to demolish the building and build new on the same spot. Historic fire stations can be converted into pretty cool spaces – so I hope that the plans in Meridian for a new home for Station No. 2 include letting a developer come in and turn the old building into something great for the community.
Back to Gulfport where there were a couple of stories on the opening of the reconstructed Grasslawn. For those new to this story, Grasslawn was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. A combination of an MDAH grant, insurance money and FEMA assistance led to the $1.6 million replica, which is now available for events. Tied in with the Grasslawn reopening story is the Orange Grove Community Center. I don’t know much about this building – and the news clips I read don’t give any good background on it. What I can tell, however, is that the community is glad that both buildings are now open to the public.
Finishing up this week with a Natchez story where the small non-profit group that runs Auburn asked local officials to consider budgeting funds to help them meet the match requirements for a preservation grant. The plan is to do work on the kitchen building on the property – which will help them tell a more complete history of the property. The story said that Auburn was interested in a Community Heritage Preservation Group grant – which makes me think that it is the Community Heritage Preservation Grant program MDAH runs. Last I heard, there is not a current grant round for these, nor does the Auburn group have one of the last ones awarded, so it sounds like they are planning for when the next round does pop up.
Categories: Cool Old Places, Grants, Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Historic Preservation, Hurricane Katrina, Jackson, Meridian, Mississippi Heritage Trust, Mississippi Landmarks, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Natchez, News Roundups, Renovation Projects