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September 28, 2006

Neal Center set to open
Article from Nicholas News

Neal Building Restoration
Carlisle’s Neal Welcome Center will open Sat., Sept. 30. The door of the reception are in the CIRCA 1883 building will open at 9 a.m., Saturday, and close again at 5 p.m.

Carol Garvin is president of the Nicholas County Historical Society and looks forward with great anticipation to the opening.

“Saturday in Carlisle gives us a great opportunity to welcome everyone in to see the portion of the building, which is completed,” she said.

The Nicholas County Historical Society is owner of the Main Street building.

The Historical Society and the Carlisle-Nicholas Co. Tourism will welcome the local community.

Work by members of the Courthouse Square Arts Guild will hang in the center throughout the weekend.

Apple and other desserts will be available.

The Nicholas Voices, a children’s choir from Nicholas County Elementary and Middle School will perform at 10:30 a.m., Saturday.

Led by Sharon Wilson, the Voices performed at the 9-11 memorial program at the Carlisle United Methodist Church.

The Neal Center will be open Thursday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., after this weekend.

Other officers include: Carol Hunt, secretary; Michelle McDonald, vice president; Nancye Fightmaster, treasurer, plus board members; Jim Haag, Miles Hughes, Josh Shepherd, Alex Kazunas, Cate Wagoner, Ginnery Kingsolver and Jan Wesley.

All of the work has been done using matching grant funds and donations.

An initial grant of $70,000 was expended on a new basic electrical supply and restoration of the building exterior to its original appearance.

A 2004 grant of $240,000 funded a fire protection system for the entire building and the Welcome Center wing interior, bathrooms, ventilation and lighting.

The grants required a 25 percent match from the Nicholas County Historical Society.

Donated funds have been used to assist with roof repair, fire escape, window and door restoration, architect fees, kitchen appliances, decorations and other expenses not covered by grants.

In the latest grant received by the society it was a competitive process with the Nicholas County grant only one of 40 out of 400.

According to Carol Garvin, “The second side to be completed will be an exhibit area. We’ll have a genealogical library in the back section and small office for the historical society.

“Upstairs is a huge area (Mozart Hall) that can eventually be used for all kinds of things: big meetings, weddings, receptions, performances of various kinds, children’s activities and educational things,” she added.

“Bob Sparks (Dr. Robert Sparks) was one of our board members got then Governor Paul Patton to come here and look at the building in 2003. He said to the governor, 'why don’t you give us the grant'."

“We were eventually awarded a $70,000 grant. The administration changed and we had it taken away."

“We worked with them. Went down to Frankfort and defended the grant and they did ultimately award it to us."

“All of these grants are reimbursement grants. It’s administered through the City of Carlisle. You have to have an entity to administer the funds.”

All projects are done through competitive bid and must fully comply with the law, President Garvin explained.

“We use the funds, pay the bill, and there is a reimbursement process through the city.”

Garvin said no one person makes any final decisions. It is done by board members and committee members.

There is no city money expended for the project.

The opening is much anticipated and will be celebrated by those who worked to have it and who come to enjoy it.

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