After years of hard work, planning, and more hard work the municipal project, which is now known as the “Coston Fine Arts Center” appears to be coming to fruition.
“It is a pleasure to announce the awarding of $234,789 in grants for revitalization of the Coston building in downtown Osceola. I deeply appreciate the personal dedication shown by Jane Stanford, Mississippi County Historical and Genealogical Society, Tamika Jenkins and other volunteers in their efforts to bring an exciting rehabilitation and reuse of a historic structure in our historic Downtown Business district.” Mayor Sally Wilson stated in an announcement today.
It was only two years ago that cleanup and minimal preservation efforts of the historic Coston Building located in downtown Osceola, Arkansas began when the municipality received a Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage for façade repair and tuck-pointing in the amount of $21,000.00. In-kind work of city employees as well as volunteers, for painting, building cleanup, and debris removal moved the project forward.
The “Coston Fine Arts Center” became a fiscal reality on June 25th of this year when a second Historic Preservation Grant in the amount of $39,797.00 was awarded for Phase 1 of a complete restoration of the Coston Building.
In a letter to Mayor Sally Wilson (received July 1st, 2019) the City of Osceola was informed that their grant application to further fund the restoration of the historic Coston Building as a home for the CFAC was approved. The minimum total of the grant is $144,992.00. Furthermore, the awarding of this current grant has secured an additional $50,000.00 from the USDA Rural Development Facilities program.
Jane Stanford, the lead project coordinator states; “The purpose of the CFAC is to engage the public by educating and entertaining through the arts. Programs will be made possible by the generosity of sponsors and contributing members. Sustaining support will be made through the visual and performance art sponsorships, memorials or honoraria.”
Osceola’s Comprehensive Plan states that it is the policy of the City “to leverage public resources and infrastructure investments to encourage private investment in downtown, to encourage the coordination and joint-marketing of downtown businesses, to promote and assist in providing regular and seasonal events and programming for downtown.” With downtown’s pedestrian-friendly scale and unique character, the Coston building’s revitalization will enhance the visual aesthetic of our city center and help transform its role into that of a district of diverse uses. The Coston Fine Arts Center will serve as the quality benchmark for many more things to come and in planning within our city center as we strive to preserve, protect and enhance our downtown.
Sally Wilson Mayor
The latest round of funding has put this project on track to be completed within the next six months.
The building is currently maintained by the City of Osceola.