With six well established historic districts in Statesville, one might ask what is taking so long to draft a sustainable preservation plan for the city’s Black historic district. The short answer is because it’s a new collaborating effort. The broader challenges are those in addressing cultural diversity and the millions of dollars in public funding needed.
At Tuesday’s “Town Hall” meeting the discussions did emphasize funding. Information on possible grants (African American Civil Rights — AACR, History of Equal Right — HER, African-American, Burialground Preservation, and Rebuilding, and African-American Infrastructure with Sustainability Equity — RAISE) and solicitations were shared by the assistant city manager. These resources are all new solicitation possibilities.
The city manager gave an update on one of two grants applied for earlier this year, and the big news is that one of the submitted grants has been awarded for $40K. This is the second grant awarded out of only three proposals and that’s great news!
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Small awards are better than no awards unless planning goes overlooked. A sustainable historic district commemorating great local Black history is a new local endeavor started just two years ago. ‘
Not everyone wants to see a sustainable preservation plan come about for saving local Black history. City service jobs and county service jobs have some cultural diversity challenges others here can address.
Facts show Black landmarks are in need of a sustainable strategy, and several significant landmarks are nearing devastating collapse. Unfortunately urgency is not being highlighted. Fortunately we can look at what other nearby cities (like Salisbury’s newly built Black historic memorial) and see great local Black history is an asset and beneficial to the entire city. We have awesome Black history here and we, too, can bring about a sustainable preservation plan for Statesville’s Black Historic District.
Lisa Mozer is a Statesville resident and an advocate for saving Black history in Statesville.