The Wright building gets a boost

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Members of the Greater Union First Baptist Church in 2016 after their purchase of the historic JW Wright building.

BEACON PHOTO

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Members of the Greater Union First Baptist Church in 2016 after their purchase of the historic JW Wright building. PICTURE TAG

The JW Wright Building at the intersection of West Voorhis and South Clara Avenues, once the hub of a thriving African-American business district of DeLandwill receive $500,000 for continued restoration efforts.

The Greater Union Life Center Inc., an offshoot of the Greater Union First Baptist Church (located at the same intersection), received the grant from the Florida Department of State, through the African American Cultural and Historical Grants program.

The Wright Building project was ranked 14th out of 152 applicants, said Greater Union Life Center executive director Mario Davis.

“This project is not limited to the restoration of a building. The larger goal is to provide a place where members of this community can receive additional resources and support,” Davis said. “[We] look forward to what this building will mean again to this community for years to come.

Originally built in 1920, the Wright Building was a hub for a thriving black business community until it fell vacant and fell into disrepair. The monument was in danger of structural failure until restoration efforts began in 2018.

The goal is to reopen as a business incubator and black history museum.

So far, approximately $270,000 has been invested in stabilization and restoration through donations, as well as grants for historic preservation and community redevelopment.


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