NEW ALBANY —
City Councilman Dan Coffey proposed last week to spend $100,000 of redevelopment funds to support the Vintage Fire Museum and Education Center’s effort to stay in New Albany.
The facility is located in the former Coyle auto building off Spring Street, but a deal to purchase the property hasn’t been reached and museum officials said the antique fire collection will likely have to be moved to a new home by the fall.
There had been talks with Jeffersonville about moving the museum to Clark County, but that deal is also likely off.
“A much better situation has emerged,” said Curt Peters, president of the museum’s board of directors, during a New Albany Redevelopment Commission meeting last week.
The option Peters referenced is the possibility of the museum being relocated to the former Baptist Tabernacle building at 318 E. Fourth St. in New Albany.
The purchase price for the Baptist Tabernacle is $250,000, Peters said, though he added it would cost about $300,000 more to add an elevator, refurbish the restrooms and provide adequate HVAC systems in the building.
Peters said the structure is more conducive to a museum setup than the Coyle building, and moving to the Baptist Tabernacle would allow the collection to stay in New Albany.
Coffey — who is a member of the redevelopment commission — said the body should consider paying $100,000 toward the project.
“This is more of a redevelopment issue than a council issue,” Coffey said, as he added the project would lead to the reuse of a building in downtown New Albany.
The city needs more than restaurants to draw people downtown, he continued.
“To me it’s kind of a piece of the puzzle,” Coffey said of keeping the museum in downtown New Albany.
The city owned the Baptist Tabernacle building until just a few years ago.