Gov. Hutchinson commits $100,000 in tax funds to Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 56 views 

“An Evening with Rosanne Cash” turned out to be a special night as Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced a commitment of $100,000 from the general discretionary account toward Arkansas State University’s Heritage Sites program and the continuing Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project at a fundraiser at the Governor’s Mansion.

“As we promote Arkansas tourism, we recognize that a significant part of the future of tourism in this state is our heritage sites, including the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess,” Hutchinson said Monday (April 4). “The support of the Cash family and the connection to Rosanne Cash to this state is significant, and I am delighted that the state can continue to support Arkansas State University in preserving these heritage sites for the next generation.”

Gov. Hutchinson, First Lady Susan Hutchinson and Arkansas State University hosted the benefit event.

There was a reception and photo opportunity, followed by “Memories, Music, and More,” including Cash’s reflections on her involvement with restoration of her father’s home and music inspired by her reconnections with the South. Cash began working with ASU in 2011 to acquire and restore the home and has remained actively involved in the project.

Cash, a four-time Grammy winner, performed a concert for a sold-out crowd of 200 invited guests. In addition to the discretionary fund donation, the event also netted just over $20,000.

“We appreciate the governor’s understanding of the value of Arkansas heritage and history. We have benefited from the work and support of many people along the way including other members of the Cash family,” ASU Chancellor Tim Hudson said at the event. “We are also very grateful for Rosanne Cash, not only for her willingness to share her remarkable talent, but also for her work on the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project. People with celebrity and name recognition lend their names to things; but, not only has she done that, she has been hands-on from the very start of the project, promoting it around the world, helping to connect the artists to help us raise funds we need to make the project successful, donating items and getting others to donate items.”

The funds will go toward additional Cash outbuildings, including moving and refurbishing existing colony structures and acquiring materials from original Dyess colony buildings for use in reconstruction. A barn will be built and adapted on the interior for use as classroom, office, conference and special event space. The estimated cost of these projects is around $500,000, and will come from privately raised funds or grants. Work will begin quickly on the smaller structures, but the timeline for the barn will depend upon additional private funding.

The Dyess Colony was created in 1934 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to aid in the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression. As a federal agricultural resettlement community, it provided a fresh start for nearly 500 impoverished Arkansas farm families, including the family of music legend Johnny Cash.

The Johnny Cash Boyhood Home opened in August 2014, along with exhibits in the Historic Dyess Colony Administration Building. The Arkansas State University Heritage Site is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.