Cawaco RC&D celebrates Heritage Chapel grants

Published 3:23 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel board members celebrated recent progress on improvements with representatives from Cawaco Resource, Conservation and Development Council.

The chapel has received $7,500 in Cawaco grants for electrical upgrades.

The Heritage Chapel had contacted state Sen. Clyde Chambliss about a funding need, and he told them about Cawaco.

Board member Ola Taylor said the grants paid for two phases of the needed improvements, and community donations covered the final stage.

“We had told Cawaco that, ‘If you could take care of the first two, we could take care of the third one,'” Taylor said.

Board member Pam Persons said many who have given to the project do not live in the community, but have seen the chapel and wanted to be a part of preserving it.

Heritage Chapel President Denise Scarbrough said the electric upgrades condensed six old electrical boxes into one modern one.

“It’s not a very visible thing, but it is a very important thing.”

Scarbrough said these upgrades have made installing a new air conditioning unit possible.

“We get money from the legislature,” Drayton Cosby of Cawaco Resource, Conservation and Development Council said. “For the past 20 years, we have been in the budget.”

He said this makes grants, like the ones Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel received, possible.

The visit to the chapel was an opportunity to see how the funds were used.

“I would like to thank Sen. Chambliss who serves on the general fund budget. He has been a huge supporter of ours,” Cosby said. “Without the partnership, we couldn’t do this.”

Chambliss said he was glad the chapel board had let him know about the need. He said it was good to see  positive resolution and the completed end result.

“It’s good to see progress,” Chambliss said. “The last time I was here was two years ago. It was going toward a liability in the community, and now it’s a huge asset. That’s the whole purpose of what we do.”

After Chestnut Creek Baptist Church had moved to a new building, upkeep of the old building became an issue. By 2016, a group of women who had ancestors buried in the cemetery next to the old church had bought the site and begun renovations.

That group has grown in number and now serves as the Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel board.

The chapel now hosts musical events, displays historic photographs from the area and is available on a limited basis as an event venue in the community.

Scarbrough said it has been encouraging to see participation in events grow.