Preserving history

Kentucky Gov. Patton stops in Ghent

Grant money to start renovation project

By Don Ward

GHENT, Ky. (November 2003) – A two-year effort by a Ghent, Ky., citizen’s committee to obtain grant money to restore an aging church into a city museum paid off Oct. 15 when Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton presented the group with a check for $200,000.

Ghent church

Photo by Don Ward

Former Ghent church to be renovated.

The money, part of the federal Transportation Enhancement Authority-21 grant fund, will be used to help restore the former Ghent Christian Church, which the city recently bought to convert into a museum, meeting rooms and eventual city hall. The building is located at Fishing and Union streets, one block from Hwy. 42, which runs through the middle of town.
TEA-21 money is generated from the state’s gasoline taxes and used for such projects around the state deemed worthy by state officials via the grant application process.
“This is wonderful,” said Diane Young, who spearheaded the effort after the committee’s first grant application failed. “We can now get started on turning this place into something we can all be proud of.”
The committee applied for $350,000, with the help of Stacey Dietrich, who represents the Northern Kentucky Area Development District. Despite receiving less than requested, members say they are happy. “I hope it means people will become interested in other projects that come from it,” said Leona Carlton.

Gov. Paul Patton

Photo by Don Ward

Gov. Paul Patton with Diane Young.

The grant brings to $225,000 the total in the fund for the project when added to other corporate and private donations. They include $5,000 from North American Stainless and $900 from Warner Ladder of Carrollton, among others, plus an offer for free use of construction equipment from Craig Construction of Carrollton. Young said the committee’s goal is to reach $500,000 to complete the project.
In awarding the money, Gov. Patton said, “I’m a student of history, and I think we ought to try and preserve a part of our history, like this old church building. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
Following the check presentation, Patton and those assembled toured inside the structure, which was built in 1872. The church operated until 1985 when it was sold to a local Amish group which held services there for a short time.
The Amish removed the steeple because it was in disrepair and became a danger. The city of Ghent bought the property in hopes of adding on to the back of the structure to eventually build city offices there. The committee also hopes to someday construct a new steeple on the building.
Committee members hope the future museum will become a reservoir of information for county residents who want to research genealogy and family history, river history and tobacco farming history. Carroll County historian Catherine Salyers has offered to donate her family history research papers to the museum. It will also contain old store ledger books from the area, said Diane’s husband, Wayne Young. The museum will offer meeting rooms for the public and a welcome center for visitors, he said.
In addition to the Youngs and Carlton, the other members of the committee include Tom Sibley, John McTighe and Bill Davis.

• To contribute to the museum fund, contact the Youngs at (502) 347-5807 of the City of Ghent at (502) 347-9706.



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