Friends Of Honey Springs Board accepts bid for visitors center

Board members of the Friends Of Honey Springs Battlefield Inc., recently voted to award a contract for the new approximately 7,000-square-feet visitors center at the Honey Springs Battlefield.

Zenith Construction Co. of Tahlequah was awarded the contract in the amount of $948,170. Friends board members took the action on the recommendation of Rillis Howard, director of Construction and Maintenance, Museums and Sites Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Available money for the project includes a $394,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant; a $407,000 USDA loan, a bank loan from Peoples National Bank in the amount of $100,000, and a USDA Rural Business Economic grant for $99,000.

Building alterations were made in order to bring the project cost down to the $1 million budget.

The alterations are cosmetic changes and do not require major structural modifications, Howard said.

The Friends board discussed raising additional funds to add some features back to the project and to have funds available to help pay off the loans for the project. A fundraising committee was appointed, which met Monday. As the projects are selected in the near future they will be publicized. However, board members said donations are appreciated at any time. Donations are tax deductible as the corporation is a 501(c)(3) organization. Send donations to the Friends of Honey Springs Battlefield, Inc., P.O. Box 900, Checotah, OK 74426.

The site of the new Visitors Center is just east of the Rentiesville Blues Club on the north side of the road. The Honey Springs Battlefield was designated as a historic landmark in 2012, a title which is just below that of being named a national park. The next Battle of Honey Springs re-enactment of the 1863 civil war engagement is scheduled for Nov. 7-8.

Information: Christopher Price, director, (918) 473-5572 or by mail at 101601 S. 4232 Road, Checotah, OK 74426 or online at www.okhistory.org/sites/honeysprings.