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Board grants funding requests
Money going toward cultural, historical projects
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For the second year, the Liberty County Commission on May 1 unanimously approved $86,090 in SPLOST grants for capital improvement projects at local historic and cultural sites.

The grants were made possible by a SPLOST resolution that was passed a few years ago as a county focus on historic preservation efforts.

Last year, five nonprofits on the Liberty County Historic Trail applied for and received grants.

This year, three new organizations with current or pending presence downtown are in the mix.

Grant recipients include:

• The Midway Museum — $12,000: Funds awarded will go toward improvements to the site’s entrance and parking areas. The money will cover removing trees, adding underground piping for drainage, fill dirt for a ditch, surface material for the driveway and a handicapped parking pad and sidewalk.

• LeConte-Woodmanston Foundation — $12,000: The work, which will also make the garden handicap accessible, includes constructing a split-rail fence around the entire garden area with strategic openings. Brick pavers will be placed in the garden paths to guide visitors and provide access to different garden areas.

• Seabrook Village Foundation — $8,090: The grant will fund removal and installation of six wood windows and metal roofing in the Bowens House. Other work includes cleaning and repairing a railing and replacing missing corner boards in the house.

• Liberty County Historical Society — $6,000: Funds will help renovate the former Manna House adjacent to the Hinesville Area Arts Council facility for use as an exhibition space for local historical artifacts and data. Total renovations are a projected $12,000, but the grant application said $6,000 would be contributed from another source.    

• Geechee Kunda — $12,000: The grant will go toward construction of a $32,100 multi-purpose addition that will serve as a theater, conference room and class room for the cultural immersion facility.

• Dorchester Civic Center — $12,000: Funds for the old Dorchester School on Islands Highway will cover a $9,400 kitchen and lunchroom remodel and a $2,600 window-glazing project.

• Hinesville Area Arts Council — $12,000: The HAAC grant will go toward the group’s second-phase of renovations to its 102 Commerce St. facility. The work includes demolition, installation of new floors, installation of a new ceiling, lighting and HVAC as well as installation of an artists’ sink and shelving. The work will be funded by the $12,000 grant, $8,000 of pre-existing HAAC funds, and $15,900 in in-kind donations.

• Hinesville Downtown Development Authority — $12,000: The HDDA grant will go toward a $67,000 renovation and restoration to the exterior of the Old Liberty County Jail at 302 S. Main St. Work includes disassembling the current brick wall surrounding the property, reconstructing the wall and steel fencing, constructing a porch portico and tree root mitigation.

County Administrator Joey Brown reminded the board that the Dorchester Improvement Association last year was approved for two consecutive $12,000 grants, so it will also receive funds again. The group is working on a $264,000 renovation to Dorchester Academy in phases, with plans to stabilize the foundation, replace the roof and upgrade plumbing, electrical and other repairs.

Vice Chairman Marion Stevens Sr. asked whether there are any controls in place to ensure that the grant recipients are spending their money in good faith.

“Yes sir, we have that documentation from all of them. In fact, they can get advance 50 percent of the funds that are approved up front, then before they get the other 50, they have to submit a progress report and documents,” Brown said.

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