A May 23 public hearing on the design of the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music has been set by the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Commission.

 The hearing regarding the application for certificate of appropriateness is set for 6 p.m. at the Depot.

According to PHPC member Don Perry, the public is being invited to express their opinions on the proposed design of the facility.

The application was submitted by Dryden Architecture and Design in Nashville. Certificates of appropriateness are governed by Mississippi law and apply in situations involving the construction, alteration, demolition or relocation of structures within a historic district or landmark property.

According to the application, the existing Ellis Theater will be renovated and brought up to code. Its sealed off fenestrations will be reopened and have a gothic arch added.

The former ticket office will be relocated to the interior and a new glazed opening will be added on the ground floor.

The building adjacent to the north will be demolished and a new community hall space will be built with materials referencing the historic context of the theater.

The building between the theater and Range Avenue will be demolished as well and replaced with a three-story structure to feature museum, event and educational programs.

The Marty Stuart center will showcase Stuart’s vast collection of country music memorabilia, including some belonging to such stars as Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. 

Stuart’s vast photography collection as well as his and wife Connie Smith’s personal memorabilia will also be included.

The state awarded $2 million in bond monies for the renovation of the old Coca Cola building on Center Avenue for the center’s warehouse. Items from the collection will be changed periodically from the warehouse to the center in order to attract visitors on a continual basis.

Stuart holds the largest private collection of country music artifacts in the world and has been recognized by the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress.

Some pieces have held residence in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, Grand Ole Opry Museum, Grammy Museum, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and several others around the nation and world.