“There is going to be changes from what it was,” said Shoaff. “I’m in favor of keeping it, but that’s a lot of money.”
Gray said that the committee wants to get a business plan completed and approved by the council by December to be able to apply for the Jeffers grant. The committee is looking to grants to help maintain the building.
“We haven’t done a good job as a city to keep it up over the past 40-50 years,” Gray said
Gray also proposed meeting with the engineering firm and architect Charles Pell to see what can be done to repair the weakness in the structure at present so that it can be insured again - a requirement for some of the grant applications. Estimated costs for repairs is $80 to $90,000.
“I’d hate to spend $80 to $90,000 of the little over $100,000 (raised by the Preservation committee) in the bank,” Gray said. He asked the city to commit $40,000 to the repair work.
“This would not drain the city’s coffers. From a visibility standpoint it is good for city to show support,” Gray said.
Vonda McConnell, founder of FaceBook page Save Our Chautauqua, told the council that there were several pledges waiting on the city’s commitment of support.
Monical’s Pizza owner Mark Shanks said that he has made a sizeable pledge and has sent part of it in. He is also waiting on the city’s commitment.
“We need to be looking at the Chautauqua as part of our future rather than a part of our past,” Shanks said. He said the auditorium could be a “centerpiece of tourism” for Shelbyville.
Gray said that Larry Burke and Mark Atteberry were willing to meet with the engineers and Pell. Mayor Johnson and Commissioner Thom Schafer also volunteered to be a part of the committee to meet with them.
“We have good schools, a hospital, an airport, and these were given to us by our parents and grandparents. We can do this for our children and grandchildren,” Johnson said.