By Associated Press - Saturday, April 8, 2017

WHITING, Ind. (AP) - Officials of the National Mascot Hall of Fame in northwest Indiana say the structural skeleton of the building has gone up and funding for interior features is being collected.

Dave Raymond, who created the Mascot Hall of Fame online, told The (Northwest Indiana) Times (https://bit.ly/2p6FAGK) that he has no doubt organizers will reach their goal of raising $4.7 million.

Funds for the exhibits are being raised through private donations. Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, said he has already received commitments from Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Indians.

He said other major league baseball franchises have been receptive to helping the nonprofit and he believes National Football League teams would also support the cause.

Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said a lot of the exhibit funds will come from corporate interests, with both local and national sponsors being sought.



Stahura said he hoped to have a top corporate sponsor on board by now, but that he has discovered it can take a long time to get a commitment from a corporation. He said a corporation might be more willing to make a commitment when the building is closer to opening.

Stahura said the major corporate sponsor is expected to get naming rights of the facility and that he anticipates other sponsor to follow the main sponsorship.

The Whiting Redevelopment Commission paid for the exterior of the building, as well as furnishings, through an $8.5 million bond issue authorized last year. The bonds are to be paid off from tax increment financing revenue created in the district around the Hall of Fame.

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Information from: The Times, https://www.nwitimes.com

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