BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. – A planned center commemorating the role Arkansas held in the Cold War has received a significant funding grant.

Officials with the National Cold War Center in Blytheville said Monday it had received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The department’s Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byways program awarded the DOT grant in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Transportation. The center will be on the Arkansas Great River Road, a national scenic byway.

The center is at the former Eaker Air Force Base in northeast Arkansas.

Museum board of directors chair Mary Gay Shipley said the grant would be used to rehabilitate several key structures at the former base to enhance the visitor experience.

“We are humbled by the DOT’s investment in the preservation of the history and scenic beauty of our region,” Shipley said. “This grant will make critical improvements possible, contributing to our goal to make NCWC a must-visit destination for Arkansas.”

The base began as the Blytheville Army Airfield in 1942. In 1958 it became a Strategic Air Command base before its 1992 decommissioning at the end of the Cold War.