February 23, 2011 Edition

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Grand opening of NEARA nearing

The dedication and grand opening ceremony for the new Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA) at Powhatan will be held on Thursday, March 3, at 1 p.m., announced Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts.

The public is invited, and a reception and building tour will follow the ceremony.

NEARA's mission is to collect, preserve and make available source materials pertaining to the history of Northeast Arkansas and its people. The development and operation of NEARA occurred through a partnership between Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas History Commission.

Arkansas State Parks provided funding for the facility's design and construction, and will provide ongoing maintenance; the Arkansas History Commission will manage the facility's day-to-day operations.

The facility is located near the Powhatan Post Office on State Highway 25 and within the Powhatan Historic State Park next to its circa 1889 Powhatan Male and Female Academy.

Joining Greg Butts at the ceremony will be other state and local officials including Richard W. Davies, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; Dr. Ray Granade, vice chairman, Arkansas History Commission; Dr. Wendy Richter, director of the Arkansas History Commission; Lisa Perry, archival manager, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives; and Corinne Fletcher, park superintendent at Powhatan Historic State Park.

Construction funded through grant program

Stonebridge Construction, LLC of Jonesboro served as the contractor for this $809,107 project. The architectural design firm was Architecture Plus, Inc. of Fort Smith.

In addition to the archival facility, exterior work included site preparation, visitor parking, barrier-free access, utilities, landscaping and signage.

The construction was funded by Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) FY 2010 grant monies. Funding for the two staff members was approved by the Arkansas Legislature in the Arkansas History Commission's fiscal year 2011 budget.

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