The Coston Fine Arts Center is closer to becoming a reality in Osceola. The project has received numerous grants and in-kind labor to move forward. The latest round of funding has put the project on track to be completed within the next six months.
“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 said.
Two years ago, a cleanup of the Coston Building, located in downtown Osceola, began when the municipality received a $21,000 Historic Preservation Grant through the Department of Arkansas Heritage for façade repair and tuck-pointing. 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 in June when a second Historic Preservation Grant in the amount of $39,797 was awarded for Phase 1 of a complete restoration of the project.
Osceola learned later the grant would be in excess of $144,992. Another $50,000 from the USDA Rural Development Facilities program has also been awarded to the project.
Jane Stanford, the lead project coordinator stated, “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 the city intends to leverage public resources and infrastructure investments to encourage private investment in downtown, encourage the coordination and joint-marketing of downtown businesses, 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,” Wilson added.