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February 8, 2013

Vintage fire museum to close doors

Collection likely headed to Jeffersonville

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Vintage Fire Museum and Education Center is likely headed to Clark County. 

Curt Peters, president of the Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum Board of Directors, confirmed Thursday the organization hasn’t been able to raise the funds needed to purchase the former Coyle Chevrolet building. 

The historic Fred Conway fire collection has been on display inside the building at 411 E. Spring St. since the museum opened in 2011. Peters said the Coyle family has been generous, but that the organization must look elsewhere for a location for the museum.

“It’s very understandable that they need to sell the building now, and we will continue, and we will grow and we will evolve,” Peters said. 

He would only confirm that the organization has received an initial offer from a property owner in Clark County to house the museum. However, during a Monday meeting, Jeffersonville City Councilman Ed Zastawny said the fire museum could be a potential tenant of the former Bales Used Car building off Spring Street. 

Peters said the museum has received support from a number of quarters in New Albany, and that Mayor Jeff Gahan and city officials “have tried to be helpful.” 

“But we have not been able to put together the funds for buying the building,” he said. 

However, Peters said the organization still strongly believes the museum can be a success. 

Next month, Peters said the executive committee of the national organization of the Fire Museum Network will be in Southern Indiana to plan their 2014 convention at the Vintage Fire Museum, wherever it may be located. 

“This project is bigger than one town, and bigger than one county,” Peters said. 

The museum will soon make an announcement in conjunction with the property owner about the proposal to move the facility to Clark County, Peters continued. 

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Amy Harpenau is the new director of theater arts at New Albany High School. Harpenau is a 2007 graduate of Floyd Central High School, has appeared on stage at both high schools and worked in theaters since she graduated college.

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