By Cynthia Harris, President, Board of Directors, Arts & Memories Museum
The Arts & Memories Museum is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization and owns the Hassebroek Grocery Store building at 211 S. Broadway. The 1887 building is in the process of being renovated to be used as a museum.
The work will be done in three phases. Phase I is in process. It involves the removal of the back section that was added to the limestone stone building in the 1960s, removal of the elevator and elevator shaft, and a wall to be created to help keep the stone structure stable. You may have noticed that work has been started. As of this writing, the addition has been removed as well as the elevator and elevator shaft. Phase II will be a new roof and Phase III is the inside work.
I have been asked several questions about this project, and I wanted to share them and the answers with the public.
Q: Why is the building being renovated instead of torn down?
A: B & G Consulting Company inspected and found the stone structures were sound. The North stone wall of the building is the base structure for the attached buildings on the block. If the building was torn down the base structure for the attached buildings could, over time, become weak and compromise the buildings attached to it. Therefore, the Board of Directors decided to renovate the building to preserve a piece of the town’s history and to keep from potentially compromising all the other buildings attached to it.
Q: Where is the money coming from for the renovation?
A: A donor, Friends of the Arts & Memories Museum, fundraisers, and donations.
Q: How long will the renovation take?
A: Phase I renovation will take about one month.
Q: What are the fundraisers planned?
A: At the time of this writing, there is a Northern Riley County History Quiz Bowl planned for June 7 at Nelson’s Landing. Another event planned is the Sunflower Festival that will be held on September 20 at The Enchanted Cottage at 305 S. Remmel.
Q: When will Phase II begin?
A: The Board of Directors would like to see the roof in place before the end of the summer to keep out the winter elements.
Q: Is there a way the public can follow the progress on the renovation without having to ask the City Council?
A: Yes. Those interested can follow this blog, watch for information in the Riley Countian newspaper, sign up for the museum newsletter, and can visit the museum and ask.
Q: What can the public do to help with the renovation?
A: There are several things the public can do. You can join the Friends of the Museum, make a donation to the museum that is tax deductible, participate in the quiz bowl and the Sunflower Festival, and once work begins inside the building you can volunteer your time and skills.
Q: What can the public do to ensure everyone’s safety during this project?
A: Please do not enter onto the property, stay away from the construction equipment, and if you see anyone around the area that looks like they do not belong, please ask them to move along or report the incident to the City Council or to Museum Directors Keith and Rita Kraushaar.
Q: There is a large hole on the sidewalk in front of the building, what is being done about that?
A: The large hole has a heavy metal grate covering it. It has been there for years and years and as far as I can tell it was used as a vent for the basement of the building. Recently Rita Kraushaar and I noticed that someone has been trying to break away the concrete that holds the grate down, so we moved the bench back to where it belongs, over the grate. As long as the bench is left along, the public is safe.