- Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2016

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - A much needed renovation project is expected to start later this year on a city-owned railroad museum near downtown Elkhart.

The Elkhart Redevelopment Commission allocated $500,000 last October to the National New York Central Railroad Museum. The Elkhart Truth (https://bit.ly/1ROXhUv ) reports that the proposal to allocate the funds came from former Mayor Dick Moore and was vetted last year through the City Council.

The work is needed because the four interconnected buildings that make up the structure are beginning to deteriorate. The sides of the roof in one section are separating at the apex and the mortar in other areas is disintegrating between bricks.

“Things are pulling apart,” said Robin Hume, coordinator of the museum. “Eventually things would start to come down because walls support roofs.”

City leaders say the museum is a gem, even if it costs more to operate than what it generates. The facility had an operating budget of $137,521 for 2015 and generated $57,105 in admission fees and other revenue, a deficit of $80,416.

The museum attracted more than 8,000 visitors in 2015. That’s up from 4,611 in 2011.

“It would be foolhardy to take them down. This is the real history,” Hume said. “This is it. We’re lucky to have it.”

Frost Engineering and Consulting Co. of Mishawaka is handling the structural review and is in the process of completing the report pinpointing what exactly needs to be done, estimated to cost around $500,000. Then bids will be sought on the work, which could start in the spring and finish later in the year.

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Information from: The Elkhart Truth, https://www.elkharttruth.com

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