Local, state and national trailblazers gathered Tuesday evening for the ceremonial groundbreaking of GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi, to be built on the south end of Delta State University's golf course, just off Miss. Highway 8.
The grand project will establish the second official GRAMMY® museum outside of Los Angeles and the 20,000 plus square-foot museum is expected to open in the early summer of 2015.
The ceremony was the latest milestone in a five-year development that has raised $12.5 million of the $18-million project.
The money pledged includes $6 million from the state, $3 million from Cleveland, $1 million from Bolivar County and $2.5 million in private donations.
Gov. Phil Bryant was in attendance to commend progress and present a $2 million installment check to Cleveland Music Foundation President Lucy Janoush.
"Mississippi is on the move and we can add to that a new GRAMMY® Museum in Mississippi," said Bryant.
"This is all because of the hard work and dedication of the Mississippi legislature. It's not for me to take credit today."
Janoush was thrilled to make the first mark in the soil and take one step closer to the goal.
"It is so exciting to reach this point and finally break dirt," said Janoush,. "As Sam Cooke would say, 'It's been a long time coming.'
"The contract is awarded and we're ready to get rolling."
GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi is poised to be the most technologically advanced music-themed museum in the world, according to GRAMMY® Museum L.A. Executive Director Bob Santelli.
“Mississippi’s influence can be heard everywhere,” Santelli said in a press release. “The music born in Mississippi has shaped the development of popular music in America and beyond. The GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi will help the rest of the world recognize Mississippi’s contribution to American music culture.”
Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell said the city takes great pride in bringing the landmark to the Delta.
"It's an honor to see mayors from all of our nearby cities here tonight," said Nowell. "It goes to show that we're in this together. What's good for our town is good for all of us. This is a great occasion for the Delta."
Sen. Willie Simmons also looks forward to the museum's regional impact.
"This is a great day for Cleveland, Bolivar County and the state of Mississippi as a whole," said Simmons. "We are here today to begin the process of this great endeavor.
"We are so close to so many birthplaces of the people who've received Grammys."
Gallagher and Associates of Silver Spring, Md., will design the permanent exhibition, while Eley|Barkley, P.A of Cleveland and Dale Partners of Jackson are the architectural and engineering firms designing the building.
Hammons & Associates in Greenwood is the project consultant.