Selma Council accepts $197,266 civic center grant

The Selma Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday, July 10 to accept a $197,266 United States Department of Agriculture grant for the Selma Civic Center. The town’s co-pay on the grant is $1,734.

The grant, along with funds already generated by the Civic Center Committee,  will enable the town to complete the civic center project which is estimated at $300,000.

Tobias Fullwood, area USDA specialist stationed in Smithfield, made the announcement. He was accompanied by Brian Queen, USDA community and economic development specialist.

Councilmember Ann Williams, who spearheaded the civic center project, said once all the documents are provided to the USDA state office, the official grant will be signed by the state director.

“The day that the grant is signed is when the project goes live and the money is available. We expect that to happen in the next week,” said Williams.

Williams said the grant will be used to install the new heat and sir-conditioning system, the new electrical, lighting, fire alarm and data systems, and the sprinkler system. Depending on the bids, it should also pay for the new porches, ramp, and sidewalk.

“The terms of the grant are that the money must be spent within 12 months,” said Williams. “The federal government will now have an ‘interest”in the building so that they need to be notified of further changes in the building. We must comply with all federal laws regarding construction, record keeping, and safety.”

Williams said the money will be disbursed through reimbursement on a monthly basis, so when the town pays a contractor, it will requisition reimbursement and should have its money back in place that month.

“Once all the papers are filed and the grant is live, we will be moving very quickly to bid the parts of the renovation that we have left,” said Williams. “We are already dividing up the work among the team members so that we have a very coordinated approach to this final phase.”

The former American Legion post building, site of the proposed Selma Civic Center.

Williams said she’s very proud of the town and those who have supported the project.
“They have supported us and stood by us as we have worked for the past two years to renovate this iconic building that has served so many people for 80 years,” said Williams. “Every day we hear from people who say they can’t wait to go to an event in the new building. I believe they will be very pleased when it opens.”

The building, located at 300 N. Webb St., was built in  1936 through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Youth Program as part of the Work Projects Administration.

During the building’s history, it’s been a high school gym, community center, and skating rink and rented for building storage.

In February 2016, the Town of Selma purchased the building from the American Legion for $60,000.

Tobias Fullwood, area specialist for USDA, stationed in Smithfield, left,  and Brian Queen, USDA community and economic development specialist presented the grant.

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