190404 Village School 5

Greg Harrison of The Village School Foundation listens as Carrie Crawford, director of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, discusses roof repairs made to the Village School through a MSNHA grant that was matched by the city of Sheffield. [MATT MCKEAN/TIMESDAILY]

SHEFFIELD — City Council members Monday unanimously approved a grant application that would be used to make additional improvements to the historic Village School building.

Village neighborhood resident Greg Harrison, who has performed hours of restoration work on the historic buildings, said the 2020 Historic Sites Grant was prepared and submitted by The Village School Foundation on behalf of the city of Sheffield.

Councilman Steve Stanley said the grant had to be submitted through the city at least partly because the city owns the old school building. The funds would be provided by the Alabama Historical Commission.

He said the grant application was signed last week by Mayor Ian Sanford. The council retroactively approved it during Monday's meeting.

Harrison said it's a “bricks and mortar” grant, meaning the grant money can be used for physical repair and restoration of the building. He said the award could be up to $20,000.

A $10,000 grant from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area that was matched by $10,000 from the city was used in April to repair damaged roofing tiles and other roof damage.

Stanley said no matching funds would be required if this grant is approved.

Harrison said the money would be used for exterior carpentry repair and restoration, including fascia and soffits that have been damaged by past roof leaks and weather. 

"In addition, the funds will be used to paint and restore the exterior auditorium doors and window woodwork," he said  "Also, exterior stucco will be refurbished and restored to its original color, and the exterior will be painted."

He said the work represents another restoration step that will prevent moisture from entering the building, which will allow the foundation to make improvements to the building's interior.

"The step is a big one toward the expansion of public use of the building," Harrison said.

Once repairs are made, Harrison said more activities can be held in the building, which would make it self-sustaining with the community assisting in the continued upkeep.

Harrison said the Historical Commission will announce the grant recipients in October.

"Greg has been in touch with people at the Historical Commission and they're very positive about it," Stanley said. "They're very interested in us preserving the Village and the Village School. We're grateful for the interest he and other people in village have shown to preserve the school."


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