June 21--GRAFTON -- The city's mayor announced a grant applied for in February for a history museum has been approved for $650,000.
"This is exciting for the people of Grafton, and an asset to the city for visitors to emphasize Grafton's heritage and history," Mayor Tom Thompson said to The Telegraph.
The museum will be a new home for artifacts now housed at the city's Visitors Center. Members of the Grafton Historical Society and residents who led the effort for the grant include Bonna Downey, Flo Rowling, Ed Amburg and Tom Wright.
The Public Museum Capital Grant of $650,000 is through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources; the city is required to pay a $1,600 non-refundable application fee. City Council members unanimously signed an agreement in support of the grant application at a public hearing in January prior to a city council meeting the same night.
Rowling, who is the historical society treasurer and an alderman, said a history museum will be a big asset for the Visitors Center and the Grafton Historical Society not only because it will give them more room for artifacts but also space for meetings.
Rowling has praised the architectural drawing presented by Heneghan and Associates, which will do the project's engineering. The company also helped with the grant writing work along with Downey, who is the Grafton Historical Society president. The city's cost toward the museum project could be up to $2,000.
"There will be windows high up that face the river and can be utilized for eagle watching," Rowling has previously said.
The plan also requests new display cases.
Heneghan and Associates president Bob Manns said that the project could take 18 months to complete once the award was granted. Downey said Heneghan's plans were designed to keep the visual appeal of the Visitors Center building intact. The plans would add 1,500 square feet to the existing structure.
Jill Moon can be reached at (618) 208-6448 or Twitter @jill_moon.
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