FRANKLINVILLE – The Randolph County Board of Commissioners voted to provide funding to restoration efforts for the future North Carolina Textile Museum properties in Cedar Falls and Franklinville.
Mac Whatley, director of Local History and Genealogy Resources at the Randolph County Library and president of Randolph Heritage Conservancy, presented the request for $152,265 for the capital improvement plan at commissioners' first meeting of 2023.
Whatley said the money will pay for utility installations and ongoing repairs to the roof and structure of the former Cedar Falls Manufacturing Company mill and the former Franklinville Manufacturing mill.
It will also pay for engineering and environmental studies at the site and artistic renderings of the final architectural design.
Commissioner David Allen represents District 3, which includes Franklinville. He said that the county's support will encourage more private donors to come forward.
"You have some momentum building there," Allen said. "This is what the funds for the strategic plan call for, what we've used them for. If we can leverage some money from the state, that will be money well-spent."
Whatley told commissioners about the extensive repairs to the deteriorating roof at Cedar Falls, which used up much of the initial million-dollar grant awarded to Randolph Heritage by the state.
He shared photos of the antiques to be displayed at the museum, including a spinning jenny from 1790. He said Randolph Heritage has restored the former Picker House in Franklinville for a textile fabrication lab. Their goal is to open it up to visitors in the summer.
Whatley said about $100,000 of the grant remains, and they will be asking the state legislature for another million. He said the state contracting office's feasibility study projects it will cost $30 million total, although he has talked to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources who think it may be closer to $8 million-$10 million.
Chairman Darrell Frye asked about their plans to raise the rest of the money. Whatley said that Randolph Heritage and NC DNCR are planning an event during Historic Preservation Month in May to meet with potential donors.