Gov. Beshear announces $500,000 grant to rehabilitate Green River Academy building in Todd County

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 16, 2011) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Todd County.

A $500,000 grant through the CDBG program, which is administered by the Department for Local Government (DLG), will support the rehabilitation of the Green River Academy building in downtown Elkton.

“Restoring local structures with storied pasts is an important way to preserve the heritage of our communities,” said Gov. Beshear. “Stabilizing the Green River Academy building will protect its historical integrity while eliminating the blighted conditions and associated health and safety risks of the structure.”

Constructed in 1835 by slave labor, the Green River Academy was one of the premier institutions of learning for women. The structure is an example of early Kentucky Federal and Greek Revival architecture and a vestige of antebellum life in the Commonwealth.

At this time, the windows and roof of the building are rapidly deteriorating, and water damage has caused rotting throughout multiple levels of the structure. Approximately 35 percent of the plastering, woodwork and hardwood floors has been destroyed. The roofing has also failed, leaving much of the roof area uncovered.

This project will restore compromised structural components of the building, stabilize exterior and common walls, replace the dilapidated roof, and strengthen windows and doorways. In the future, the building will serve as a multi-purpose facility for Todd County Historical Society functions. It will also contain a special collection archives library and museum and serve as a business incubator.

“Historic buildings are significant assets that play a valuable role in a community’s legacy, particularly when they are located in a revitalized area,” said DLG Commissioner Tony Wilder. “Renovation of this building will promote continued renewal in downtown Elkton and preserve and interpret a significant piece of the community’s history.”

During the 1990s, the city of Elkton was designated a Silver Renaissance City, which helped initiate urban renewal efforts in the downtown area. Currently contributing to these efforts is the University of Kentucky’s College of Design, which has partnered with other local parties to incorporate smart growth initiatives.

The Green River Academy Preservation Society, a not-for-profit organization, was formed in 2009 to save this landmark building. Once the structure has been safely stabilized, further preservation and renovation intitiatives can be undertaken by the society, which will continue to be owner, operator and manager of the building.

“I am pleased that we are able to restore the Green River Academy,” said Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville. “It is great to save this beautiful building. This rehabilitation will help continue the rich history of this building in Todd County for future generations.”

“This is great news for Todd County and for anyone with an interest in the Green River Academy’s unique history,” said Rep. Martha Jane King of Lewisburg. “This grant money will help in the rehabilitation project of this building, with the focus on a multi-use facility incorporating an interactive historic site museum with a training and technological resource center.”

The state’s CDBG program is administered by DLG and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Kentucky’s Congressional leaders’ continued support of the CDBG program ensures the availability of continued funding in Kentucky and nationally.

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