May 2, 2014

City, board members talk Emery Center’s future

From Staff Reports

— Emery Center supporters are still working to raise funds to repair the building of the history museum on Emery Street, but they’re also discussing the possibility of moving to another location if that doesn’t work out.

Dalton City Administrator Ty Ross said he met with board members Thursday evening about the center’s struggles and what can be done to keep the center alive. The Emery Center is a nonprofit multicultural museum focusing on the history of Dalton, especially the black community. The building was constructed in 1924 as Emery Street School and the black children of the area were educated there until the late 1960s when the school was desegregated and turned into a junior high school. The Emery Center was located there in 2003, when city officials signed a 20-year lease. City officials have since said the building needs more than $80,000 in upgrades to bring the building up to code.

Center director Curtis Rivers said supporters have been raising funds to cover those costs but were recently told they’d need even more money than expected. He declined to cite an exact amount because organizers hope to take in more bids for work that includes several infrastructure repairs and replacements.

Rivers said the board of directors will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, at Dalton High School to discuss possibilities for the center’s future. He said there are several sites the center could move to. Ross said one of the sites that has been discussed is Dalton High School, but no decisions have been made.

Ultimately, Rivers said, supporters hope to raise enough money to keep the center in its current location.

“We’re negotiating with the city, and hopefully we’ll come to some decision in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Ross said city leaders want to make sure the Emery Center is preserved in one way or another.

“It’s all about sustainability in our mind,” he said. “We’re glad to be talking and glad that the board is open to possibilities.”