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Forkland center gets $250,000 grant

August 07, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

FORKLAND - Forkland Community Center will receive a $250,000 federal grant to repair the roof, windows and wiring.

For more than 30 years, community residents have fund-raised their hearts out to keep the center up, but as the 75-year-old former school building ages, the cost of repairs became too much.

Patches of plaster have fallen from the ceiling and cracks show where the walls have given away to moisture from a leaky roof. The window frames, some still with original blown glass panes, need to be repaired.

"For a long time we were proud to do it ourselves, but its gotten beyond us now," said Hazel Overstreet, a long-time volunteer and once a school teacher at the Forkland School.

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Doing things themselves has been a long tradition in the community. When the school was built in 1928 local people donated $4,000 of the $16,000 cost.

"This school has always been the center of community," Doris Purdom, another long-time volunteer and once a student here. "It just gives us such a feeling of home to be here."

School closed in 1971

When the school closed in 1971, within a week families had pledged $19,300 to buy it. Then they have supported its upkeep by selling everything from Forkland quilt patterns to postcards to beans. Every fall the Forkland Festival and its supper and drama have made enough to keep the community center going.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said, "If there was anyone that was ever more worthy of this money, it's Forkland."

The money is part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century that is provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

Marjory Ellis, who has taught art at the center since in opened in the 1970s, has painted murals on many of the walls. The center still has its tall doors, hooks for children's coats and some of the original furniture. The people here want to keep the school looking mostly like it did when they went to school.

Boyle Fiscal Court helped the community center board write its application and will help apply for another one next year to finish the first phase of restoration. Casey and Marion fiscal courts also assisted with the application.



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