Shelbyville Daily Union

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August 9, 2013

Chautauqua committees want city support

The committees working to keep the Chautauqua building for future generations looked to the Shelbyville City Council for support before moving forward.

Wayne Gray, former chairman of the Chautauqua Preservation Committee, explained the structuring of the ad hoc committee that has formed after the disbanding of the five-year-old Preservation committee. The original Preservation committee was formed to raise funds to restore the 110-year-old structure that sits in Forest Park. In February the city council considered the possibility of tearing down the structure instead of spending city funds to help with the restoration work. That action prompted public response and the formation of the ad hoc committee.

“We have the framework put together to go forward. Now we’re looking for your support to work with us,” Gray told the council Monday evening.

The committee is comprised of three subcommittees who will be writing the business and usage plan for the building; who will be in charge of raising funds and publicity; and who will manage and oversee construction and the projects.

“Basically we are looking for the city’s blessing to go forward,” Gray said.

“Conceptually it is a good idea. Hopefully we can go forward,” said Mayor Jeff Johnson. “The council wants to see the building restored, but money is an issue.”

Most council members agreed that they would like to see the business plan before committing to it. The business plan would define uses that would help financially maintain the Chautauqua building.

“I would be interested in a business usage plan. That would determine if I vote to spend money on this,” said commissioner Brent Fogleman.

“The whole package is important to the $2 million project. Your business plan is important,” said commissioner Gib Smart.

Commissioner Bill Shoaff noted that the restoration project may not keep the building as historically as it was, but will be adapted to the needs of modern-day use.

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