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Hope Star - Hope, AR
  • Museum project gains support

  • The Dr. Henry C. Yerger Museum here has gained some legislative funding which will be combined with grant funds to push the project nearer the $125,000 needed for its completion.
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  • The Dr. Henry C. Yerger Museum here has gained some legislative funding which will be combined with grant funds to push the project nearer the $125,000 needed for its completion.
    State Senator Linda Pondexter Chesterfield, D-Little Rock, said Friday in an e-mail to the Hope Star that she and other legislators with ties to Hope and Hempstead County have made the project one of their concerns.
    I have pledged some $50,000 of my General Improvement Funds; Representative John Walker (D-Little Rock) has pledged $5,000 in GIF and Senator (Larry) Teague has pledged his financial support,” Chesterfield said.
    Chesterfield currently serves as the chair of the fundraising effort, which procured $20,000 in seed money from a February fundraising dinner.
    The current fundraising goal is $125,000 to get the project completed, but I want the current committee to review the plans for possible revisions,” she said.
    That stems from the need to take advantage of work that has already been done in getting the building completed and exhibits housed, she said.
    The exterior is complete,” Chesterfield said. “I'm new on the job, so I am unsure as to whom the contractor was who drew up the original plans. I have called on Ms. Martha Miller, Arkansas Director of Heritage, to help the board of directors identify a curator and/or architect who can lead us toward completion.”
    Chesterfield made a strong push during the February fundraiser for support and organizational experience volunteered from alumni of the former Yerger High School, the successor to Dr. Yerger's original institution for black teachers.
    We also have a grant writing committee that we are putting to work,” she said.
    State Representative Brent Talley, D-Hope, said Monday that the General Improvement Fund appropriations for the project originated from monies allocated during the last regular legislative session. Talley said he has not been able to make any GIF appropriations for the project, but is working to smooth out the grant writing process for the project.
    I have contacted them to submit applications through the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, which is what the House is working through,” he said. “Senator Chesterfield has taken the lead on the project.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Teague, who was one of the hosts of the February fundraiser, said Chesterfield will get the job done.
    I believe that my friend and colleague Senator Chesterfield will see the Yerger project through to completion,” he said in an e-mail Friday. “I believe she hopes to get that done soon. I will help her if and when she asks for help. It is time to get that project finished.”
    Teague said the museum will become an added attraction to the historical importance of Hope.
    You have heard me speak of how important tourism dollars are to our economy,” he said. “Anything that people are interested in stopping to look at can be an aid to our local economy.”
    Chesterfield has set a target for completion prior to the Yerger High School Reunion in 2015.

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