By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan County Boys and Girls Club is banking on a hefty grant opportunity to remodel its new headquarters at the Pearl-Burney campus, which is the former Morgan County Middle School and historic Pearl-Burney Street School.
The Morgan Boys and Girls Club is working with the City of Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to apply for a $750,000 grant in hopes of using the money to renovate three buildings on the Pearl-Burney Campus.
The grant is offered through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The Community Development Block Grant will award $750,000 for a facility that “serves specialized populations.”
According to Monica Callahan, Madison’s City Planning Director, the DDA is acting as the responsible fiscal agent and writing the application for the grant on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club. This effort to secure grant money for the Boys and Girls Club is part of the ongoing partnership between the city and the Boys and Girls Club to ensure the historic Pearl-Burney campus lives on. The City announced the partnership with the Boys and Girls Club in May of 2020.
The City of Madison has a vested interest in repurposing the old middle school, which once served as the Pearl-Burney Street School, an all African-American school before integration was implemented in Morgan County in 1970. The building holds special significance to the historic Canaan neighborhood in Madison, with many locals worried the relocation of the middle school would leave the building vacant and deteriorating.
City leaders believe it is in the best interest of the community to make sure the Pearl-Burney campus is repurposed and are working to make that vision a reality. Helping the Boys and Girls Club secure a grant to renovate the campus will ensure the longevity of historic Pearl-Burney Campus for the future, they say.
The grant application deadline is April 1, but funds would not be awarded until October.
“Funds would be used to renovate three buildings of the Pearl-Burney Campus: the big gym, the tech building, and the old Ag shop, and the grounds thereto,” said Callahan.
The city agreed to pay for the grant writing services, which cost $8,000. The Boys and Girls Club will pay the grant-match requirements which will be at least $22,000.
The Madison Mayor and City Council voted unanimously last Friday to allow the DDA to move forward with the grant application process.