Page Title

Groundbreaking for Ross Station center

August 3, 2018

The Seaford Historical Society project that has been three years in the planning is moving forward.

In July Bev Hutton signed a contract for construction of the Ross Station, a visitor's center planned for the Ross Plantation.

The contract is with construction firm Gillis Gilkerson Inc., Salisbury. Groundbreaking was held on Tuesday, July 31. An optimistic forecast projected mid-January 2019 as the completion date.

Project manager and former historical society president Maria Heyssel is hoping for a grand opening in early spring.

Even with the contract signed, though, the society's fundraising continues.

The society is also raising money to match a second donation from Ross Claiborne, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and great-grandson of Gov. William Henry Harrison Ross, who built the Ross Mansion in 1859.

Two years ago, Claiborne gave a grant of $400,000 to the project, which the society has successfully matched. Recently, he donated another $50,000, "for contingencies and furnishings," Heyssel said. The society has to raise money to match that grant.

The center will be 6,364 square feet in size and will include a 3,650-square foot banquet room capable of seating 225 people. It is being constructed on a corner of the plantation near the intersection of North Market Street Extended and Venture Drive.

The historical society has raised more than $1.2 million for the project. That includes grants from the Longwood Foundation, the Welfare Foundation and the Crystal Foundation, as well as more than $150,000 in local donations.

In March, the city donated a couple of small parcels of land along Market Street Extended to the society, to be used for parking for the visitor's center. The city is also contributing $38,000 toward the cost of the parking lot. The balance of that cost will be paid from the state's Community Trust Fund ($142,000) and the county ($8,000).

The design of the center, by engineering firm George, Miles and Buhr, was paid for by an initial grant for $16,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program.

Printer Friendly Version
Email To A Friend