The addition at the Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center is well underway. According to Scottsboro Museum Commission Vice Chairperson Susan Fisher, “This long-awaited feature will establish a cultural center for all citizens which will accommodate the performing arts and a variety of community activities, including civic and community meetings, receptions, social functions and lectures.”
Currently, the Heritage Center is housed in the Brown-Proctor building, but room is so scarce, less than half of the exhibits can be viewed. The stairs in the center are also a factor because they are so steep, and many patrons cannot make the climb to view the exhibits upstairs. During their many free community events they host, most patrons are left crowded in the two main rooms and usually spilling out onto the lawn. With the addition, during The Arts exhibits, weddings, receptions, historical presentations and meetings, this will no longer be a problem. The aim of the addition is to display the artifacts, currently housed upstairs in boxes, to their merit. With its full kitchen, handicap accessible bathrooms and added wealth of room, the addition will also provide a place for the community to come together, to learn, to share and to celebrate, comfortably and safely.
Scottsboro Museum Commission Treasurer Brenda Ivey stated, “We want this to be a place that is used by everyone. We are here to serve the community, but this is a center for the whole country.”
Jackson County has a rich history, and while the center is in place to celebrate the history of this region for the community and this county, people – students, researchers, authors – from all over the United States come to Scottsboro to visit the Heritage Center to do research at no cost. With the addition, the center will be finally able to host traveling exhibits, opening the door for more enrichment for locals and tourists alike.
“This addition has been planned since 2013, and we could not have done it without the bond that City Council gave us,” stated Fisher.
According to Jim Olyniec, brickwork on the exterior started last week, and thanks to Tolar Construction, they will only be spending $1,187 on hardwood flooring as opposed to $3,337. The installation of permanent power is also going in with the help of the Scottsboro Electric Power Board with thanks to Brian Ricker and Philip Chaney. Scottsboro Water, Sewer and Gas has also donated materials. Local construction/contracting businesses have stepped up since the addition was underway, donating a lot of materials and time to make this dream a reality. They have scoured over the plans and helped the center save a lot of money here and there by making small changes while keeping the overall aesthetic the same.
The addition is historically approved by the National Register of Historic Places. Every substantial feature from the brickwork to the paint colors has been carefully chosen to remain within the period of the Brown-Proctor house, ensuring a seamless transition from one building to the next, maintaining the sense of history, reverence and potential.
The Heritage Center board members began the project with the intent to remain local as much as possible, as far as hiring the professionals to complete the job, and they have maintained this stance. Every cent of money the center receives from donations has gone back into the addition and back into local businesses. While the board members have strived to keep the money here, they stated that the period/historical lighting they are installing in the great room has not been found locally, so they have had to look elsewhere for that.
Recently, the Scottsboro City Council approved a bond to go toward the addition. Once the bond money is spent on the initial construction, the center will be responsible for any remaining finishing that needs to be done on the structure. Such as, furniture, display cases, etc.
Ivey stated, “We would be remiss to not mention Mayor Potter and the council during his term, Mayor Shelton and his council and Mayor McCamy and the seated council members as well. We could not have done this without Jim Olyniec, City Accountant Rick Wheeler and Raymond James, who worked out the bond. Wayne Moore and the Street Department have also been so much help.”
As it stands now, they need to raise $100,000. When broken down between all the businesses and professionals in town and in the industrial park, etc., if each one of them gave $750 to $1,000 apiece, the center could clear the remaining costs and be ready to host their projected open house by the end of May or beginning of June this year.
As the center is 501(c)3, any donations received are tax-deductible. The center also provides proof of receipt that can be used when filing taxes. All donors will also be recognized on the donor board that will be displayed when the project is completed.
There are also other ways to donate. The purchase of an engraved paver will be personally engraved and will serve as a permanent welcoming entrance to the new addition.
Jennifer Petty, Museum Director stated, “The pavers can be engraved to honor someone special. They can have their name or someone else’s or a message or memory.” A 4×8 brick paver is $100, and an 8×8 brick paver is $200. For a printable template of the brick paver form, go to www.sjhc.us and click on the brick paver link.
If you’d like to make a charitable monetary donation, visit sjhc.us and click on donations. Donations will be recognized at the following levels: $15,000/Diamond; $5,000/Platinum; $2,500/Gold; $750/Silver; $250/Bronze. The donor names will be displayed on the aforementioned donor board that will hang in the addition.
Once you’ve printed out the donation templates of your choice, please make checks payable to Scottsboro-Jackson Heritage Center Association and mail to P.O. Box 53, Scottsboro, Ala. 35768. (Please do not send cash.) If you’d like to visit the center, they have new COVID hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday – Friday. For more information, please call 256.259.2122.