Event center breaks ground

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation — known as Red Hill — recently held a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction on the new Eugene B. Casey Education and Event Center.

“We are very happy that you are here with us today as we break ground on this new opportunity for Patrick Henry’s Red Hill and all the cities and counties surrounding us,” said Foundation Chief Operating Officer Hope Marstin on Tuesday. “What a special moment for all of us.”

Marstin said representatives in attendance came from Charlotte, Halifax, Campbell, Appomattox, Halifax, the Town of Brookneal and the City of Lynchburg.

Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation representative Betsey Hamner said the building is not up, however, the ceremony was held to celebrate the start of construction on the much-anticipated project.

According to a foundation press release, the 5,000-square-foot center will allow for the growth of school visitation groups, adult/senior groups and provide a hands-on learning experience regardless of weather conditions.

“The proposed site … will be beyond the historic area nestled in the tree line, yet steps away and easily accessible to all of the historic building and Henry’s grave,” officials said in the release. “The peaceful vista will add to any education experience, business meeting, wedding, book signing, art exhibit or any other special event.”

Del. James Edmunds, R-Halifax, said the center will be a welcomed addition to Red Hill.

“There’s not that many buildings for the school kids to be in if the weather is bad, so having a facility you can get inside and still have activities if the weather is bad is going to just make this area so much nicer and for the community around here as well,” he said.

Edmunds said people would appreciate the center and utilize it.

Showing his appreciation to the foundation, he made a donation in light of the advancements being made at Red Hill.

Plans to construct the center were first brought to the attention of the public in April, resulting in the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors earmarking $2,500 in its 2017-18 county operating budget to support their efforts.

In April, Aspen/Phenix Supervisor Haywood Hamlet said he was “proud that it’s in the district that I represent.”

He said although Red Hill has a Brookneal address, the facilities are located in Charlotte County and Campbell County doesn’t provide any funding.

The foundation was given $1 million in honor of Mrs. Eugene B. Casey to build the center, according to Patrick Henry National Memorial Development Coordinator Myra Trent.

In May, the foundation received a $4,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Revitalization Commission.

Commission Public Relations Coordinator Jordan Butler said funds came in the form of a Southside Economic Development grant.

The new venue is slated to include a portico-style covered porch, a lobby entrance featuring historical exhibits, a catering kitchen that will also function as a lecture hall, a classroom and venues for presentations.