County museum in Cannelton labeled as ‘blighted’

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Designation needed for historic-preservation study

Managing Editor

CANNELTON – Cannelton’s Common Council members declared the Perry County Museum “blighted” July 14, but they meant it in the nicest way.

Nathan Held said during the regular common-council meeting the museum’s board of directors is applying for a grant from Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs through the county commissioners to conduct a historic-preservation study of the building.

To get the funding, “you have to qualify under what’s called the slum-and-blight national objective,” the senior project administrator for the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission explained. “You guys did that for your downtown plan.”

The money originates at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a specific building such as the former county courthouse on the city’s Seventh Street has to be qualified under a “slum and blight spot basis,” he explained. “It sounds worse than it really is. This is HUD; they deal with a lot worse things, but we just have to meet that requirement.”

Since the building is in Cannelton, that city’s council needed to make the declaration.

“The building’s not falling down. This is a historic-preservation project,” Held emphasized, adding that the museum’s board of directors wants to develop a plan on how to preserve the facility.

The council was being asked to adopt a resolution that says “widespread deterioration has occurred on the building,” city attorney John Werner said, “and that’s probably right.”

“The things that they really want to address,” Held said, “and we spell that out in the resolution here, are deteriorating exterior masonry, dilapidated windows and crumbling stonework.”

The museum board would also like to address some interior issues, he continued, “but with this particular funding program, we have to focus on the exterior.”

“This plan’s going to set out a feasibility study and lay out what they need to do and cost estimates,” Held continued.

In response to a question from Councilwoman Kim Reed, he said the museum board will probably learn this fall whether their application is successful.

To submit it, they would need to get the county commissioners’ support and a public hearing must be conducted.

Held also told the board results of a city application for funding to address its combined-sewer-overflow issues will be announced Aug. 15.