AMESBURY — The Amesbury Carriage Alliance’s efforts to build a new carriage museum in the Lower Millyard got a huge boost yesterday after the state announced it had awarded the organization a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to help fund a feasibility study on the project.
The grant will allow the Alliance, which is a joint venture between the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce and the Amesbury Carriage Museum organizations, the means to move forward with its plans to explore a proposed project that would convert a dilapidated old building in the Lower Millyard into a multi-use cultural facility.
Matt Sherrill, the chairman of the Amesbury Carriage Alliance, said he was excited when he heard the news and said that getting the grant funds represented a major step forward toward realizing the organization’s ultimate goal.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into that grant application,” Sherrill said. “Now we need to get back together and formulate a path to move forward with.”
If the project were to go ahead as planned, the first floor of the facility would house the Chamber of Commerce offices and a new Amesbury Visitors Center, while the second floor would become home to the Amesbury Carriage Museum. The third floor would be used as artist’s lofts, and the rent brought in from those units would help pay for the building’s expenses.
The plan is for the project to be funded entirely by non-city funds, but before any of that can happen, the Alliance needs to conduct the feasibility study to determine what it will take, how much it would cost and if the project is even feasible at all.
Sherrill said the next step will be to choose who will conduct the study, and he indicated that five or six people have already reached out to him expressing their interest.