Bill Grimes Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — Effingham County Cultural Center & Museum Association volunteers have been working hard on the inside of the museum, which formerly housed the Effingham County Courthouse.
While there’s still plenty of work to be done inside the museum, ECCCMA President Matt Stead said it’s time to spruce up the exterior of the 141-year-old building. Stead told an Effingham County Board committee Wednesday that the museum group was receiving a grant from Landmark Illinois to cover half the estimated $15,000 cost of painting parts of the building near each of the three entrances.
“It will look a lot nicer,” Stead said, adding that part of the project will include removing a large beehive from the vicinity of one entrance.
Stead also reported that volunteers would soon begin to tear down false walls on the second floor. He said the group would also like to see some work done on the parking lot east of the building.
“It needs to be resurfaced,” he said, adding he would like to see diagonal striping to mark individual parking spaces.
“Parking at a 90-degree angle in that lot is tough because of all the traffic,” Stead said.
Also Wednesday, the Building & Grounds Committee tabled a proposal to pay utility bills at the museum with Hotel-Motel Tax receipts. Committee members Mike DePoister and Karen Luchtefeld said they would like County Treasurer Steve Dasenbrock to report on funds available in the Hotel-Motel Fund before making a decision.
The county has agreed to pay utility bills on the museum until at least 2015. Board Chairman Jim Niemann said using Hotel-Motel fund receipts would ease any strain on the general fund.
According to records obtained Wednesday, that strain has been increasing now that the museum is open on a part-time basis, particularly in winter months, when power bills exceeded $2,000 during both January and February.
According to the records, the bill remained steady at around $27 until last August, when it exceeded $200 for the first time under museum stewardship. From there, utility bills have been steadily increasing until topping $2,000 in both January and February.
Records indicate that total county spending on the museum, counting utilities, pest control services and Effingham city water, totaled $8,655.21 from Feb. 1, 2012, to Feb. 28, 2013. But at a rate of more than $2,000 per month, the total for the next 13-month reporting period would exceed $26,000.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.