Jackson County engineer hopes grants will restore historical structures

Engineer hopes grants will restore historical buildings in Jackson County.
Engineer hopes grants will restore historical buildings in Jackson County.(WJHG)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 10:51 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - President of Melvin Engineering, David Melvin, approached the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday to ask for letters of support to apply for a grant through the African American Cultural and Historic Facilities Grant Program. These grants would fund the restoration of several historic properties throughout the county.

“The idea to restore these is to preserve African American Culture in Jackson County,” Melvin said.

These three properties have a rich history inside their walls.

“Saint Luke Church, which is a very historic African American church in Jackson County, then the Graham Building is part of the 1920′s historic business building in the business community in Marianna, and the Springfield School is a 1920′s, one of the first African American Schools in Jackson County, Melvin added.

However, these properties may not be restored to exactly what they were before. Saint Luke Baptist Church in Marianna was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael, and officials said they won’t be able to restore the entire structure.

“I think that the approach to save the two towers and potentially the front entry steps would be a good approach,” County Commissioner and Architect Paul Donofro said.

Regardless of how they are restored, officials agree this is an important project.

“These three facilities, I think, mean a lot to all of us and our culture, and especially to our African American community,” Melvin said.

“It (Saint Luke Baptist Church) is an architecturally significant building and a significant part of Marianna and Jackson County’s past, not only from an African American standpoint, but a community wide standpoint,” Donofro added.

By restoring these buildings, it can help keep the history alive.

Officials said they aren’t sure when they will find out if they were approved for the grant, but they suspect it will be in the next six months.

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