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Last night Architect Ashlyn Ackerman with City Properties Group as well as Barry Alberts with City Visions introduced preliminary design plans for the proposed Jasper Cultural Center. Members of the general public along with the Jasper Public Library Board and Jasper Arts Commission filled the council chambers of Jasper City Hall as the presentations were made. It was emphasized that these are schematic designs NOT final designs but designs that show some direction of what could possibly be accomplished for the center that would be located in the former Hoosier Desk building.

Plans for the 7.4 million dollars project include high ceilings, open spaces with windows for natural light access, shared spaces, and open rental spaces for public use for special occasions creating a community gatherign place. The money comes from $3.42 million in tax credits granted to the project by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation plus $3.94 million in donations collected through the fundraising campaign, Jasper LEADs. Of the amount collected by Jasper LEADs, officials are including the $1.7 million matching grant from Jim and Pat Thyen for the creation and support of the Jasper Arts portion of the project.

As a native of Jasper Ackerman says her experience in taking on such a project for her hometown is special. She says she’s thrilled to help make a difference in her home community…..

Ackerman adds that she believes her firm has done good work with selecting a working group involving the arts, library, and city.  She says that by seeing all groups coming together is a positive movement to demonstrate unity and reach more people while simultaneously consolidating services. Ackerman notes that the project is unique and says she has tried find example studies of other buildings trying to create a similar project and has not been able to find anything similar. She says a project like this is a different type of living situation that most have seen before in the area and she could see current or future generations looking closer to Jasper before moving to bigger cities if the project becomes a reality.

Jasper Library Board President Dean Vonderheide says such plans even if in the preliminary vision such as the cultural center serve as a visual aid milestone that shows the public this is were the community is headed. Vonderhiede also elaborates on the investment people will be making should they vote in favor of the center in the upcoming referendum…

Alberts noted his work with other projects such as this and has seen how the city aims to do the right thing when it comes to figuring how to better conserve older structures.  He says his company invests in creating great places and is anxious to see the outcome of the referendum for the proposed cultural center.


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