New ray of hope for National Center for Civil and Human Rights

February 15, 2012 by  

The future looked bleak for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ building fund until the board of Invest Atlanta agreed to allocate $28.5 million in funds to the project. Now, construction may commence on the building. Revenue generated from property taxes of commercial and residential buildings in the area surrounding the center will comprise the majority of the $28.5 million designated to the construction.

A series of unfortunate events have plagued the construction project since its inception and have forced center leaders to react accordingly. Economic downturn hindered fundraising efforts. Also, competition from other projects, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., has made capital even scarcer. Consequently, the center’s endowment was reduced from $25 million to $15 million.

In response, officials from the center reduced the size of the facility from 90,000 square feet to 63,000 square feet. Initially scheduled to open in 2012, the projected opening date was pushed back to 2013. Then, the $100 million cost associated with the project coupled with a lack of donor funds forced management to break the project down into three phases. Construction on the first phase, a 30,000 square foot building that costs $65 million, will begin in June; the building will open in March. Further construction is contingent on fundraising.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is important to the Metro Atlanta community due to the number of jobs it will create and the influence it will have on the cultural heritage of the state of Georgia. Owners of print companies in areas like Kennesaw can help through donation or offering their services for items like brochures, posters and promotional materials.