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Elmore Bolling Foundation receives grants

The Elmore Bolling Foundation recently received a grant to help restore historic Lowndesboro School. The foundation's board of directors from left includes Lowndes County Probate Judge John Hulett, Alma Dacus Collier, VP; Mary Bolling Brumby, Pamela R. Hill, Barbara McCall Cline, Fre’Derica Brumby, James Vince Pierce, Constance Belser-Quinn, Rosemari Hopson, Esq., Rosalyn Oliver King, Bettye R. Johnson, Elmore Bolling, Jr.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Alabama Historical Commission (ARC) recently announced awards of over $750,000 in grants statewide, including four projects funded in Lowndes, Dallas and Wilcox counties.

Lowndes County Grants include the University of South Alabama, $15,205 for archaeology at Holy Ground Battlefield and The Elmore Bolling Foundation, $15,880 for restoration of the 19th Century Lowndesboro School.

Governor Robert Bentley and the state legislature provided a one-time appropriation to establish this grant program.

According to Josephine B. McCall, executive director of the Elmore Bolling Foundation, “The award (for the Lowndesboro School) is significant for a number of reasons. There are some critical needs of the building that must be addressed immediately. This grant does not require matching funds, and the work will be done by locally qualified contractors with experience in historic building restoration and will thereby stimulate the economy.}

She also said, “The National Trust for Historic Preservation provided funds from the Gwyn Turner Preservation Fund for Alabama to match local funds for a Historic Structures Report which determined the critical needs for the structure. This architect’s report was used to provide information to obtain the Alabama Historical Commission’s grant.”

McCall said the two-room 19th century Lowndesboro School is located in the historic antebellum village of Lowndesboro. On May 19, 2011 the school was included on the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Landmarks & Heritage.

According to the ARC other grants awarded included: Dallas County, $15,880 for operations support for the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; Wilcox County, $11,935, to Dale Lodge No. 25 for 1847 Masonic Lodge Restoration.

“These grants help people from every corner of the state preserve their history. Historic preservation develops local economies, provides jobs, and strengthens tourism,” said Frank White, AHC executive director.

According to economic development consultant Donovan Rypkema, historic building rehabilitation creates more jobs and has a greater economic impact than an equal amount of investment in new construction and manufacturing output.

Auburn University Montgomery economics professor Dr. Keivan Deravi estimates that people visiting historic sites in Alabama create 5,900 jobs and $96 million in payroll each year. He estimates that heritage tourism generates $5.1 million in state sales and income tax revenue for Alabama.

According to the ARC, the response to the grant program was significant, with 277 organizations in 60 counties requesting over $6.1 million. The AHC funded less than 20 percent of the proposals.

For a full list of grant awards visit: www.preserveala.org/grantsprogram.aspx.