Aiken's black culture center moving forward



From the Augusta Chronicle . . . .

AIKEN --- The exterior renovation of the former Immanuel Institute, at the corner of York Street and Richland Avenue, was completed last summer, but the inside of the future Center for African American History, Art & Culture still needs considerable work.

Volunteers hope to make up for lost time after the center suffered a setback because of a lack of funding.

Renovation on the interior was delayed as the center waited for money from the state.

In December, though, the center received a check for $250,000 from the state, in addition to two private donations.

The original budget called for $1.9 million to get the facility fully operational, but funding fell short of that goal.

Organizers and members of the Aiken Corp., which owns the property, have raised more than $1.1 million. More than $400,000 is from private donations and $360,000 is from the city of Aiken. Aiken County has provided $100,000.

The accommodations tax -- added to hotel room fees -- makes up the city's contribution of $360,000. Those involved with the center have said they'll need at least $500,000 more to complete the project.

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