Big restoration plans for Claflin come with big costs - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Big restoration plans for Claflin come with big costs

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Friends of Historic Claflin must now raise at least $11 million to restore the building after Columbus City Council accepted their proposal Tuesday night.

The group hopes to restore the rundown property into a new and thriving educational center while preserving the historical value of the original building.

"If you value something, invest in it," is the current motto for the group as they met Wednesday afternoon for a news conference following Tuesday's big decision.

An autism and Head Start Center are just two of the ideas Friends of Historic Claflin hope to build in what they call the future educational beacon of Columbus.

Richard Jessie, executive director of the group, said that although the building is rundown, it is savable. Jessie said he hopes the community will reach in their pockets and show just how much they value the property.

"When we went into Claflin back in May and June, and walked through the court, it has a beautiful court inside, it was like we were standing on sacred ground, and we're asking this community, 'Is there anything sacred anymore,' and we're going to be posing to this community, what do we really value," said Jessie.

The renovations are expected to be completed in upcoming years with a hopeful reveal date sometime in September 2018 to celebrate the 150th anniversary.

Committee members are working on organizing a gospel and inspirational concert at the RiverCenter in June.

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