City approves museum repairs
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The city recently approved two improvement projects at the Comer Museum and Arts Center after museum staff submitted a prioritized list of needed repairs.

At its March 19 meeting, the City Council approved $975 to Hadden Electric to correct outdoor lighting issues, and an additional $425 was approved at its April 3 meeting for installation of a new sidewalk.

These funds are in addition to the $11,400 museum appropriation budgeted for the year. The council noted the lighting project may not cost as much as anticipated and remaining money from that can possibly go toward the sidewalk. The proposal includes replacing and redirecting the existing dawn-to-dusk light to shine on the parking lot and installing a 250-watt flood light at the rear entrance.

The total cost of the sidewalk is estimated at $850, but a community donor will pay half, museum staff told the council at a work session last week. It will be 5-feet wide and about 53-feet long extending to the back parking lot and replacing the current gravel and dirt pathway.

Donna Rentfrow, executive director of the museum, said Tuesday they are grateful for the city support and hope to have these projects done in the next two weeks.

At a council work session last week, museum staff also asked about repainting the exterior of the Broadway Avenue building, which belongs to the city but is contracted to the museum organization. Museum board member Don Smith said five gallons of paint were donated from Sherwin Williams, and he purchased another five gallons. They hope other board members will provide the remaining paint needed to lessen the city’s expense, he said.

Painting the building and cleaning the exterior marble is No. 1 on the nine-item list of improvement projects the museum requested earlier this year. Also on the list, in descending order, is: an exterior drive-through ramp on the south side of the building, storage space, women’s restroom renovation, resurfacing the basement floor, electrical improvements, resurfacing the hardwood floors particularly in the galleries and front entryway, resurfacing plaster walls in the exhibit galleries, and lastly, repairing the leaking skylight.

“We take pride in the finely maintained appearance of public buildings in Sylacauga, such as City Hall, the library and the schools and how that reflects upon the city as a whole,” said a statement included with the list. “Let’s do what we can to share the civic pride. This isn’t a contest. It’s a desire to participate in the overall effort.”

Rentfrow said they don’t have a specific timeline in mind for when they would like to see all of the requested projects completed, but said the former library building, home to the museum for 34 years, is worth the expense.

“It is the city’s building, and it’s worth saving,” Rentfrow said. “There’s a lot that should have been done all along that hasn’t been, but we are optimistic about working with the new city councilmen to get these things done. They seem to be on the ball and interested in getting involved for the betterment of the community.”

The museum hosts at least one artist reception each month in addition to a monthly art exhibit and various community-oriented events.

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© 2013