Friday, October 31, 2014
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DUBOIS GRANTS—Gov. Steve Beshear joined local officials, the Dubois Community Center Board of Directors, the Black Achievers youth organization and the community Tuesday in welcoming nearly $600,000 in grant money for roof repairs and renovation of the historic Dubois Community Center.
Grant funds awarded to help restore, repair Dubois center
Special to the Advocate
A historic local building will be repaired and reopened for community use thanks to a pair of grants, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Tuesday.
The Dubois Community Center has been awarded grants totaling $590,772 to rehabilitate the sagging, unsafe building, which has been closed four years due to safety concerns.

The building, according to a release from Beshear’s office, will be reopened to the public for needed community services such as mentoring and tutoring programs, job training, health and wellness programs and cultural learning classes.

“The Dubois Community Center was an important community asset for decades, serving generations of Montgomery County residents as a shared space for day camps, the arts, scouting and youth programs,” Beshear said. “I’m happy to award these funds to bring back this facility so Montgomery County residents can enjoy an array of community events and training opportunities in a building with a rich and vital history.”

The center, built in 1921, was originally an African-American school. A fire in 1964 destroyed everything except the gymnasium, which was then repurposed into a community center. Between 1964 and 2010, the center hosted youth empowerment programs, Girl Scouts events, Kid Fit day camps and activities sponsored by the Montgomery County Council for the Arts.

The fire marshal closed the center in September 2010, citing failing exit doorways, lack of fire protection, unsafe heating and electrical systems and holes in the roof and walls. A year later, an exterior wall of the building partially collapsed, forcing the shutoff of gas service. The 8,445 square foot building has since further deteriorated.

The funds will enable the facility to make significant repairs, including heating and air conditioning replacement, electrical wiring replacement, bathroom renovations, wall structural integrity restoration and doors, window and roof replacement, a release said.

Upon completion of repairs, the community center will be able to serve 1,500 individuals through programs like job training and health and wellness outreach.

“Constructed almost a century ago, this building represents a valuable piece of Mt. Sterling’s history,” state Sen. R.J. Palmer, of Winchester, said. “From its beginning as the gymnasium at the no longer standing African-American school to its most recent usage as a community center, this building has been and will continue to be significant in the enrichment of our youths. After years of working to obtain funding, I am glad we were able to finally get the money to restore the Dubois Community Center.”

“The Dubois Community Center has played a major role in our community for decades, so I am certainly pleased to see this CDBG money be approved,” said state Rep. Richard Henderson of Mt. Sterling. “Once this work is done, the center will be better than ever, and that’s great news.”

“I fully support this project and sincerely thank Gov. Beshear for his efforts to help us save this building,” said Mayor Gary Williamson. “This building is a piece of our heritage that desperately needs be preserved. It will be a great asset to this community.”

“I’m happy to that this building will be returned to good use,” said Wally Johnson, Montgomery County judge-executive. “The Dubois Community Center has become an eyesore and a danger. These grants will enhance community pride and offer needed services to our citizens.”

Funding Sources
The $590,772 in funding includes a $443,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a $147,772 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to the Montgomery County Fiscal Court. Both grant programs are administered by the Dept. for Local Government (DLG).
The state’s CDBG program is administered by DLG and funded through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Kentucky’s congressional leaders’ continued support of the CDBG program ensures the availability of continued funding in Kentucky and nationally.

ARC partners with federal, state and local governments in an effort to support sustainable community and economic growth throughout Appalachia by funding projects that range from education and job training to housing and business expansion to transportation and infrastructure development, a release said.

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