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St. Catharine College partners for NEA grant

How often does it turn out that you are a winner when you place fourth in a three-way competition? Probably not very often, but that’s exactly what has happened to St. Catharine College and the Harrodsburg Mercer County Community Action Partnership. Both recently learned that the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded funding for 2011 for Your Town: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, a project designed to help support the city’s energetic grass-roots planning efforts.

     “The NEA only intended to fund three programs,” said Dr. David Arnold, Director of the St. Catharine College Center for Community and Regional Studies and grant coordinator. “I think they added a fourth, this project, because of the strength of the work already done in Harrodsburg and because of the city’s unique history.”

     The project was developed by the St. Catharine Center in cooperation with Harrodsburg First and the Harrodsburg Mercer County Community Action Partnership. The effort will bring together city officials, leaders, and citizens along with support from the University of Kentucky Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation programs, the Kentucky League of Cities, and St. Catharine College in a series of public workshops and information sessions beginning this fall.

     The workshops will carry forward the five themes identified by the Community Action Partnership in previous workshops: historic resources and green space, downtown revitalization, planning and zoning issues for ideas like for historic and scenic districts, design of gateway approaches to the city, and pedestrian access.

     The grant provides up to $22,000 dollars in funding. Partial matching funding and support will be provided by St. Catharine College, the Kentucky League of Cities, and local sources.

     Harrodsburg First Executive Director, Elaine Hammonds, and Mercer County Chamber of Commerce director, Jill Cutler, were instrumental in gathering required information for the grant. Harrodsburg Mercer County Tourist Commission director, Karen Hackett, Wilderness Trace YMCA director Mark Fryer, and the owners of historic Beaumont Inn, Chuck and Helen Dedman, are committee leaders in the Harrodsburg Mercer County Community Advancement Partnership. Pete Chiericozzi, retired Senior Vice President of Wausua Paper, is the chairman of CAP.

     “There is so much excitement within the CAP organization about this grant award,” said Hammonds. We feel honored to have been given a second look. This workshop fits directly into the goals and objectives CAP has already put into place.”

     Another aspect of the project that Dr. Arnold is particularly excited about is the support from the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky League of Cities.

     “This project is going to bring some very talented people in to listen to the city and its citizens and help them really put workable plans, not daydreams, in place,” he added.

     The Your Town design program was created in 1991 by the National Endowment of the Arts together with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is intended to foster the environmental and cultural heritage and values found in America’s natural landscapes and small towns through citizen leadership initiatives. Through more than 45 workshops since 1991, the Institute has helped empower community leaders to revitalize their downtowns, build greenways, and conserve important land resources.

     The St. Catharine College Center for Community and Regional Studies was established in 2010 to foster study, scholarship, and service designed to enhance leadership and quality of life in small towns and their surrounding regions. The Center will be a participant in the College’s new Master of Arts in Leadership program which will begin in January, 2012.

     For more information on the Your Town: Harrodsburg project, contact Elaine W. Hammonds with Harrodsburg First at (859) 734-6811, or Dr. David Arnold with St. Catharine College at (859) 336-5082, ext. 1210.