African American Heritage Center
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After a series of budget shortfalls, slumping funds, and an audit of sloppy accounting halting the project in 2006, the African American Heritage Center is back under construction at the corner of 18th Street and Muhammad Ali. The politicians have come and gone to mark the resumption of work, construction bids arrived under budget, and $5.5 million in federal funds are stirring up the dust at the site as construction crews get back to work.

African American Heritage Center
African American Heritage Center. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)

The complex, a series of brick trolley barns connected with a modern metal and glass structure, should open in 2009 and a fundraiser seeking $3 million is underway to create exhibits and pay operational costs. $17 million in public money has already been spent on the center. The exhibits have already been designed and will spotlight stories of African American progress in Kentucky from antebellum times onward.

The Heritage Center will include an auditorium, a central great hall for exhibitions, offices, gift shop, gallery and performance space, meeting space for catered events, and an education center with classrooms and a possible research library.

The community is invited to leave their own lasting impressions on the center by donating an inscribed brick available through October 1st. The center expects about 50,000 visitors including many school groups to attend the first year.

African American Heritage Center
African American Heritage Center. (Branden Klayko / Broken Sidewalk)
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Branden Klayko

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