Belpre’s Farmers Castle Museum adding new space

BELPRE – A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Collections Preservation addition to the Farmers Castle Museum Education Center is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at the museum, 509 Ridge St.

The 50-foot by 50-foot addition will be constructed adjacent to the present facility. The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public. Speakers for the ceremonial groundbreaking will include Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz, Bob Stevens with the McDonough Foundation and Larry Holdren with Peoples Bank. Light refreshments will be available following the ceremony.

“We’ve been working on this project for the last two years. We have quickly run out of space, but we still want people to donate artifacts of local history interest to the museum, and the new building will give us the ability to provide that additional space we have so desperately needed,” said Nancy Sams, president of the Belpre Historical Society. “We have raised $175,000 in grants and contributions from last July to January. That was our goal and we met that goal in order to break ground. Now we are working on the last $30,000 to complete the project.”

David L. Haught of DLH Design, Marietta, is the designer for the new addition. The next phase will be the vetting and hiring of a contractor.

Sams said once a general contractor is hired, construction will get under way, and museum officials anticipate it will take five to six months before the building is completed.

“We are looking at something this fall,” Sams said.

Sams said the museum project received grants from $2,000 to $100,000 and individual/business donations from $100 to $5,000.

“The additional $30,000 would finish it up, turnkey. We have some options, like the sidewalks, parking lot, carpeting would go in last, those things can be done later,” she said.

Donations can be made to the Belpre Historical Society, P.O. Box 731, Belpre, Ohio 45714, or they can be made at the museum, which is open to visitors Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, and by appointment at other times by calling 423-7588. Architectural/engineering designs of the addition are available in the museum.