Making history shine again: Non-profit aims to repurpose downtown Fort Payne building

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) -- A historic building in downtown Fort Payne is getting a new life with a goal to help kids learn about the world they live in.

A building stands several stories tall in the heart of downtown Fort Payne.  It has been there for decades.

Once a hotel in the 1920s, it has been abandoned for years -- until now.

Courtesy: One World Adventure

Courtesy: One World Adventure

"We drive by it all the time and look at that building and say 'man, we wish we could do something with that building it's just an eyesore'," Bill Shugart says.

For Bill and Angie Shugart, that's a reality now.

It has been donated to One World Adventure Company -- the non-profit the Shugarts co-founded.

That organization offers outdoor and science education programs in northeast Alabama.  "We build self-confidence through outdoor education, and we enhance skills and the way people think about themselves," Shugart says.

Through the organization kids who want to have an opportunity to participate no matter what their financial situation is. The plan is to repurpose the building to enhance those programs. "It will be an interesting place with a lot of diverse programming," Shugart says.

The goal is to create a Discovery Center to provide science and nature based experiences -- from a rock wall  to a weather garden. The project is a way to expand the organization's goals of giving kids an opportunity to grow while learning about their world.

It's also a way to make a piece of Fort Payne's history shine again.

The plans will take some work,  but it's work that's well worth it. "Giving back on so many levels is really important to us," Shugart says.

There are fundraising efforts in the works to help with the project. For more information on how to help, click here. 


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