On Martin Luther King Day this week, officials conferred ownership of a former trolley barn to the non-profit African American Heritage Foundation after a $23 million renovation. The ceremony marks a milestone in the creation of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in the Russell neighborhood.
Initial renovations transformed the abandoned trolley barns at 18th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard into a revitalized facility through a series of federal, state, and local funds in addition to private donations. In coming months, the Heritage Foundation must raise additional funds estimated at around $5 million get the museum operational which could happen in 2011.
The once-beleaguered project was the subject of a state audit causing significant delay and eventually the city assumed responsibility for the project. Part of the funds to be raised include back payments to contractors and a lender.