HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The executive director of the EarlyWorks Museum shared some exciting news with elected officials of Huntsville and Madison County regarding a huge celebration Huntsville will host.
It’s the State of Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration. Bart Williams said Huntsville will be the center of it.
He spelled out a huge renovation plan for Constitution Village, since it will be the center of the statewide celebration in 2019.
The specifics are still to be determined, but Williams said Alabama Constitution Village will undergo three years of work to get it ready for the party.
Williams said not many people realize Huntsville played an important role in terms of setting up the future of what was just a territory in 1819.
“In the summer of 1819, 44 delegates from across the territory at that time gathered and wrote the state’s first constitution,” Williams said.
He added Huntsville was the state’s first capital city.
Williams is one of 12 people appointed to a Bicentennial Commission organizing the celebration.
He said he expects the cost for renovations to the EarlyWorks Museums to be about $1 million, including an architect who will identify areas that need the most work.
“The challenge with the Village is it was built historically correct,” said Williams. “And so the materials and the workmanship have to be done that way. We keep it as period correct as possible, so it’s going to be an extensive situation and not cheap.”
“We need painters,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “That’s one of the biggest things, we need painters. We may need to do some woodworking, but most of it has been kept in pretty good shape.”
Battle said the whole project will create jobs and bring an exciting influx of tourists to Huntsville.
“To be the center of all this activity, we need to put our best foot forward,” said Battle.
Organizers expect to have a plan of everything that needs to be done by this fall.
Williams added he expects Huntsville to begin the Bicentennial Celebration early, in 2017, since that was when the Alabama territory was created, leading to the process of statehood.