By JOHN LEE
Marty Stuart himself was in attendance at a closing ceremony for the renovated Ellis Theater last week as part of the $ 30 million Marty Stuart convention planned for downtown country music.
âThis event as a whole was a big milestone and the subtotal of a lot of hard work,â said American singer-songwriter and singer. and a native of Neshoba County. âThere has been a lot of effort from so many people in this community and across the country who believe in this project. I’m all smiles right now and I don’t think it could have been better.
Stuart said the project adds to Philadelphia’s renovation spirit and will make it a landmark for tourists across the country as well as other sites such as the Neshoba County Fair.
âI really think it’s going to be a world famous place that a lot of country music fans will be interested in, and they will know that Philadelphia will be ground zero for it,â he said.
Mayor James A. Young praised the ceremony and said it was a sign the project had shifted into high gear.
âMy joy is that people come back to reinvest in this community, even during these times,â Young said. âPhiladelphia always draws people and gets national attention from the music world, and as mayor that’s a huge plus for us and I’m proud to be a part of it. “
Young said the project will set the tone for Philadelphia’s future when it comes to renovating and remodeling older structures, and it’s an opportunity for music-loving young people to pursue careers.
âI’m just delighted that after all the years of planning this is finally happening,â he said. âWhen we are one, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. “
Representative Scott Bounds from Neshoba said the project has been underway since 2015 and the funds to move forward have been acquired from the state.
Bounds was responsible for helping to secure approximately $ 4 million in public funding.
âWe were able to secure the necessary $ 4.5 million from the state, and the renovation of the Ellis Theater was the first phase of the whole process,â Bounds said. “It’s a good day for Mississippi, and in particular the city of Philadelphia.”
Bounds sees the theater renovation as a major asset to downtown Philadelphia, and as the project progresses into later phases more and more people will see the value of downtown Philadelphia.
âWe hope people will continue to invest and help us grow here, and I see this project as nothing more than a positive for the community,â he said. âIt was a great event and it’s great to have Marty in town. We thank the volunteers who made this possible.
Tim Moore, director of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said everything went according to plan despite the gloomy weather.
âThe rain was a bit of a nuisance just at the start of the ceremony, but everyone who showed up had a blast and the ceremony went really well,â said Moore. âIt was rainy but very successful.
Moore noted that this project will be a game-changer for Philadelphia, as Marty Stuart’s Country Music Congress will feature the newly renovated Ellis Theater as well as a museum, which will serve as country music entertainment and visual arts learning. . He said having faces like Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith at the ceremony was a big deal.
“The presence of the Senator here was very encouraging and she has come here before to support the project,” he said. “It was really good to see her come here and have her name on one of the support beams that will be inside the Ellis Theater forever.”
For more information on the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music project, visit congressofcountrymusic.org.