Earl Scruggs Music Center Funding Application Assistance, Shelby, North Carolina- EDA Serving Heritage Tourism
Destination Cleveland County (DCC) is a private, non-profit organization that has the goal of revitalizing the community through historical tourism. DCC started in 2006 to assist in the diversification of an economy decimated by plant closings and the resulting job losses. The mission is to unite Cleveland County’s history, heritage, culture, and arts to create a vibrant economy that embraces the future, yet values the past. The group had an idea to attract visitors to Cleveland County by publicizing the musical heritage of the area and by featuring two native sons, Don Gibson and Earl Scruggs, which developed into the Don Gibson Theatre and the Earl Scruggs Center: Music & Stories of the Carolina Foothills.
DCC embarked on a project to renovate an historical courthouse for use as the Earl Scruggs Center: Music & Stories of the Carolina Foothills. The project included the construction and renovation of the historic courthouse, the museum development, and the design and construction of the exhibits. DCC’s Board of Directors, the City of Shelby, and Cleveland County made financial contributions to the effort. WR-Martin was consulted to identify and secure an additional funding source through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to make the development project a reality. Ultimately, a grant application was written and WR-Martin assisted in securing funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in the amount of $1,543,000.
The Center is an interactive musical heritage venue with opportunities for performances, hands-on exhibits, and community events. The project has created an economic development engine that not only benefits the local economy, but also brings visitors to the Foothills region of North Carolina. Over 200 jobs are expected to be created with an economic impact of $205 million from direct and indirect spending in the region. This project represents a viable niche for musically based tourism in Cleveland County.