BENTON – Local officials are waiting for execution at the state level of an agreement that will set in motion the building of a children’s art center.
The project is a joint effort of the City of Benton, which received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, and the Marshall County Arts Commission.
The city requested the grant because Marshall County is engaged in the construction of a new health department building, funded in part by a block grant. Local governments are limited to one block grant project at a time.
At a recent city council meeting, preliminary plans and drawings of the new building were presented. A 6,800-square-foot structure is planned. It will include a multi-purpose room with seating for more than 250, stage and dressing rooms, plus a kitchen.
Architects for the project are Castleberry, McGregor and Swinford of Benton.
The grant agreement was reviewed and verbally approved in early April, Arts Commission member George Milam said.
“They [state officials] wanted to rewrite some language, making minor changes, so they took it back to Frankfort,” Milam said.
When the document was returned in late June, he said, it was reviewed, signed and returned to Frankfort for the final signatures by officials at the Department of Local Government.
Local officials have signed it and returned the document to Frankfort.
The necessary signatures by state officials will trigger the construction process, starting with final architectural plans.
“When the grant agreement is executed,” Milam said, “the architectural team has 90 days to prepare final plans.”
The next step would be seeking bids on the project and contractors will have 30 days to do so.
Receipt of the grant agreement allowed some work to be done, including the preliminary work that was presented to city council. However, blueprints and engineering plans have not been done, Milam said.
The center will be on Elm Street between 12th and 13th streets.