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Board seeks $50k match

Representatives of the Corinth-Alcorn Reaching for Excellence (C.A.R.E.) Foundation want to partner with Tourism and others to help the Coliseum Civic Center.

Photo courtesy of Kim Williams

By L.A. Story


Representatives of the Corinth-Alcorn Reaching for Excellence (C.A.R.E.) Foundation want to partner with Tourism to help the Coliseum Civic Center.

During the Tuesday meeting of the Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, C.A.R.E. Advisory Board members Joe Vann and Hull Davis asked the CVB for $50,000 to match C.A.R.E. foundation's own $50,000 contribution to help with much needed renovations to the historic Coliseum.

Vann added that their hope is that the Coliseum Board of Directors would also raise $10,000 and the City of Corinth would match with another $50,000 for a total of $160,000. He admitted this would be a large financial commitment for C.A.R.E., but they felt it would have a stronger impact.

"Over the years C.A.R.E. has given a lot of grants in small denominations to a lot of agencies," said Davis. "Last year, for Bishop Park, we put up the seed money and the people raised the matching money and we got it done. So, now we sort of shifted our focus to a larger project instead of a lot of small projects. The Coliseum, on their own, raising $5,000 here and $5,000 there wouldn't do a lot of good ... if we could put some money and some other players together, we could get up some real money and have an impact — a permanent impact."

Both Vann and Davis said the civic center needed repairs to items such as the roof, plaster on the back stages, replacing the main curtain and ballast and renovations and repairs to the bathrooms.

"I think if we got it into really good shape then maybe it would be used by more people," said Davis. "I think it's a real jewel for downtown Corinth and should bring a lot of folks to Corinth."

CVB Executive Director Christy Burns said that the CVB had already approved $23,000 for lighting for the Coliseum and wanted to know if that could count toward the requested $50,000.

The C.A.R.E. members said they did not have a detailed list of repairs yet, nor any solid financial figures yet as to cost. They are still in the beginning stages of raising funds for the project.

CVB board president Russell Smith requested that C.A.R.E. come up with some "solid numbers" for the CVB and then they would have a better idea of how much the CVB board could do.

"But, we do agree with you that it (Coliseum) needs to be taken care of," added CVB board member Laura Albright.

The CVB board took no action to approve funding during the meeting, but chose to hold over consideration as they wait for more specific totals on the work that needs to be done.

In other board business:

Burns advised the board that The Alliance president and CEO Clayton Stanley had discussed the need for electric car charging stations at a recent meeting. She added that he would be to talking to the city board to see what can be done.

In a report regarding recent area events, Burns indicated a successful tree-lighting and Christmas parade and the Wassail Festival was "a huge hit." She added that the Corinth Symphony Orchestra's Christmas concert was also well attended.

Burns advised the board that the CVB hosted three travel writers recently including Deb Thompson, of Michigan, Fran Folsom of Cambridge, Mass., and Connie Pearson of Hartsell, Ala. The director said the writers all seemed to have a good time and Thompson had already written one blog from her visit, which received 224,000 impressions, which Burns said was the advertising equivalent of $2,075.

The board was advised that the CVB had changed their geofencing to include Florence, Ala., Oxford, Tupelo and Jackson, Tenn.

Ashley Berry, with the National Park Service, said she met with contractors for the Seattle and Portland areas and they will be renovating exhibits at Shiloh. It will be a three-year project with a projected ribbon cutting scheduled for April 26, 2021. She also advised the board that the City of Corinth received a grant to connect National Park lands to the city. This grant included redoing the Polk Street Bridge at Henry Cemetery. She was unsure of a timeframe. Berry also provided a few highlights of planned events for 2019, which included a 15th anniversary celebration for the Civil War Interpretive Center, an artillery demonstration in October and another concert.

The next CVB board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 8 a.m.