In 1987 when the Johnston County Tourism Authority was created, the very first grant for a Capital Project was the new Paul A. Johnston Auditorium which received $235,000 in funding.  The new 2019 Capital Grants were approved August 8th in the amount of $105,890 for eight projects making the total investment of tourism funds over $2.06 million in the history of the bureau.

For more than 30 years, the Tourism Authority has committed funds to enhance the county’s historic, recreational, and cultural assets to build the county's tourism infrastructure.  Without vibrant attractions to pull visitors off of I-95 and I-40, the county’s tourism industry could become stagnant.  Without the investment of tourism dollars our tourism partners would struggle greatly to develop new venues, make improvements to exhibits, and improve the visitor’s experience to Johnston County. Visitors to our county have made a quiet but mighty impact for our communities! 

2018-19 Capital Grant Recipients are:  (alpha order)

Ava Gardner Museum - $10,000
The Ava Gardner Museum is updating and streamlining archival practices to have every item in the museum stored in a specially treated box or folder that is used specifically for artifact preservation.  Grant funds will be for a curator 8 hours a week and conservation supplies.

Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation - $20,000
Converting the council chambers into a full digital audio and video format is the objective which will create an additional programming space for small (less than 200 patrons), entertainment events for jazz tours, comedy café, coffeehouse productions, as well as, increasing meeting, lecture, wedding, educational and corporate usage.

Town of Benson - $5,890
Grant funds will be used to assist in the installation of wireless speakers throughout six blocks of downtown Benson from Wall Street and travel along Main Street and end at the Singing Grove.

Johnston County Heritage Center - $25,000
Funds will be used to relocate, restore and preserve the only known Freedmen's Schoolhouse in North Carolina.  The building is located at 308 N. Fourth Street, and was built in 1868-69 as a school for freed slaves and was used as a school for African Americans until 1912.

Selma Civic Center - $15,000
The grant funds are being used to restore a 1938 gym building to become the Selma Civic Center.  It will become a centerpiece for continued economic development by increasing the ability to hold a variety of events in order to attract tourists and out of town guests as well as provide citizens with a venue they can rent for various occasions.

Smithfield Parks & Recreation - $7,500
Grant funds will be used to resurface outdoor tennis courts at Smithfield Community Park.

Tobacco Farm Life Museum - $10,000
Conservation Care Grant will be used to hire two students for 8 months to identify collection items and prepare condition reports for the artifacts currently in the Pack House.  A report will document the condition, items to be removed, cleaning items, and rehousing some items.  An annual pest test and treatment will be performed.

Town of Princeton - $12,500
This project is to renovate the Princeton Community Building as a part of Princeton's downtown gateway to encourage increased utilization as a small event center and public library; ultimately drawing more visitors to Princeton and Johnston County.  Specifically, the grant funds requested will be spent on architectural fees.

For more information on the Johnston County Tourism Authority list of capital grant recipients 1987-2018 visit our Capital Grants page.