City museum receives grant funding for HVAC, restroom projects

The Seymour Museum Center is one step closer to beginning a couple of projects that will help the organization be open more to the public.

Earlier this week, the Seymour Redevelopment Commission voted 4-0 to provide grant funding for a new HVAC system and to redo the restrooms in the museum building at 220 N. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour. Commissioner John Reinhart was absent from the meeting.

The grant subcommittee recommended the commission fund a total of $32,500, which is half of the projected $65,000 cost of the projects. The museum must come up with the other half.

Lenny Hauersperger, president of the museum, said so far, the organization has been able to secure $5,000 in funding from the Jackson County Visitor Center, $5,000 from the Indiana Historical Society and some money from its recent Parking Lot Pickers fundraiser. He also is hoping to get some financial support from Seymour Main Street this year.

“We have somewhere around $12,000 available,” he said.

Hauersperger JordanMoreyjmorey@stagingtb.aimmediallcindiana.com
Hauersperger [email protected]

That would allow the group to go ahead and do the restrooms or continue to save money to do the HVAC work first.

By having a working HVAC system in place, the museum will be able to be open more, which will lead to more revenue and will allow for more interior renovations during the summer and winter months, Hauersperger said.

Commissioner Bonnye Good said the grant requires the work to be completed within two years, and the museum board must provide a project update in 2022 and a final report upon completion.

The 12,000-square-foot building is owned by the city and leased to the museum. It was built in 1918 with neoclassical architecture and Bedford limestone and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It served as the city’s first post office, city hall and the Seymour police station.

Going forward, the redevelopment commission will be reviewing and approving grant funding for quality of life projects twice a year. The museum’s request was made in February 2020 before the commission began using tax increment financing revenue for such projects.

The board has supported the museum’s efforts in the past by contributing money for a new roof and to restore windows. Local businesses, individuals and groups also have assisted with donations.

Hauersperger said the museum doesn’t want to always rely on the city for funding and has established several income sources.

He hopes the museum can be open this year during downtown community events, including Cars and Guitars, Scoop the Loop and Seymour Oktoberfest, and he also would like to have Saturday hours.

The only other big-ticket item the museum board will need in the future is an elevator, which Hauersperger said will cost between $80,00 and $120,000.

When finished, the building will feature three floors, a gift shop, educational classroom space and exhibits covering more than 9,000 square feet of space.

Design goals for the interior of the building are to house an artifact collection composed of model trains and local railroad memorabilia, the Welch telephone collection, which was donated to the city, and exhibits related to the historical figures of Seymour, early settlers, music, arts and crafts, natural wildlife and history of local industry.

There also are plans for a cafe and a multipurpose room for the public to use. The project is estimated to cost around $3 million overall, but Hauersperger believes it can be done for much less.

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If you would like to support the efforts of the Seymour Museum Center, contact museum President Lenny Hauersperger at 812-530-9272. You also can send a private message or make a donation through the museum’s Facebook page or checks can be mailed to Seymour Museum Center, P.O. Box 1139, Seymour, IN 47274.

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