Bids Being Sought For Renovation Of Coke Building For Museum Project

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - March 26, 2014

 Bids will be opened on April 15, 2014 for the renovation of the historic Coca-Cola building, which will serve as a warehouse for items for the proposed Marty Stuart Center in Philadelphia.

The Industrial Development Authority, which was granted ownership of the building last year, will open the bids in the Board of Supervisors' meeting room on the second floor of the courthouse, Community Development Partnership President David Vowell said during last week's CDP meeting.

IDA hired E. Bowden "Skip" Wyatt, of Foil Wyatt Architects & Planners PLLC, in January to design the warehouse which will house items from Stuart's collection as they are changed throughout the year at the center.

IDA is administering $1 million in state monies awarded by the legislature in conjunction with the center which would house Stuart's vast collection of Country Music memorabilia, including some belonging to such stars as Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams Sr.

"The $1 million is here and in the bank," Vowell said, noting that the renovation project would cost significantly less.

Once the renovation of the building is complete, the remaining monies could be used to help purchase a suitable building to house the actual center.

Vowell said items from Stuart's collection would be changed from the warehouse to the museum in order to attract visitors on a continual basis.

A board, composed of five to seven people, is now needed for the project to move forward, he said.

While officials have looked at several buildings to house the proposed center, a final decision has not been made.

The Marty Stuart Center stems from the Mississippi Country Music Commission which called Stuart's collection "a living history of Country Music" which would be "the heart of a center" in Philadelphia.

Stuart, a Neshoba County native, said the center would be a combination of a museum, theater and classroom.

While the center would house the collection, the theater would be for small performances.

The classroom was described as a place for "oral histories."

By Steven Thomas

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