Childrens Arts Commission Breaks Ground
By Marlene Watkins
BENTON,KY. - Ground breaking has begun on the new Childrens Arts Activity Center located on 12th Street. Members of the Marshall County Arts Commission had a dream to one day provide a place for the children of Marshall County to go to become the next Picasso or Mozart.
George Milam, Past President of the Arts Commission, beams as he speaks of not only his dream but the dream of many. "We not only have a concept but a dream as well. We want a place that these children can go to that will help them become something that they might not of had the opportunity to become otherwise." Milam stated the City of Benton was a major help with the progress so far. "We went to the City and asked for help. We told them what we had envisioned and the ball just began to roll."
Like any organization starting from the ground up the Arts Commission sat out to make their dream a reality. After applying for grants and discussing possibilities the board and the City Council began making plans for construction. After bids were read realization of a dream coming to a halt struck both groups. Every bid was over budget. Not letting this stop something that was dear to their hearts they decided to take another stab. "We cut back some of the cosmetics of the building in order to get this project off the ground." Milam said that after cutting out some things that were not needed another round of bids were accepted. "This time we got the answers we were looking for." With Cleaver Construction coming in with the lowest bid and winning the contract.
With a building of its nature the new facility will host a majority of events. Some will include a yearly recognition of the Outstanding Artists, Educator and Citizen. Theatrical productions such as "Some Enchanted Evening" will also be among the many productions. There will also be the Camp smART a summer camp that is focused on teaching various art forms. When asked what the citizens of Marshall County and adjoining counties could expect to see Milam had this to say "we will have visual as well as performing arts. There will be something for any child to learn to love."
Mayor Steve Cary said "We are very proud to be apart of this project. A lot of hard work and money has been put into it but in the end we want something the community can be proud of."
With ground work just beginning there is still a lot work to be done. With the grant being signed on July 26, 2011 a two year construction time is awarded. With the finished date set to be completed on or before July 26, 2013.
Milam also said "We want the public to know that when the building is completed we aren't going to stop there. We plan on continuing to grow and expanding where we can. When we made those cut to the original design we didn't plan to leave them out completely. We simply just had to put those plans on hold until we could regroup and work them into our budget." Just recently the Calvert City United Fund notified them that they were approved to be inclued as a listing on their solicitation card promising to be a significant source of funds.