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Local

Sycamore History Museum plans expansion on Engh Farm

Shaw Media File Photo
Tony Whitney gets out of his 1931 Ford Fordor after arriving at the Family Fun Day at the Sycamore History Museum. Whitney's vintage car and the 1931 Ford Tudor behind it were just one of the attractions during the event on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011.
Shaw Media File Photo Tony Whitney gets out of his 1931 Ford Fordor after arriving at the Family Fun Day at the Sycamore History Museum. Whitney's vintage car and the 1931 Ford Tudor behind it were just one of the attractions during the event on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011.

SYCAMORE – Plans to expand the programs and exhibits offered at the Sycamore History Museum could include partnering with other historical organizations and constructing a new building on site.

The Sycamore City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday to renew the museum’s lease on the Engh Farm property for 30 years, which would allow for long-term plans of adding another building on the city’s property.

The museum first moved to the Engh Farm in 2009, when a five-year lease was established. A five-year lease extension was approved in 2014, along with a waiver of the annual rent. The lease is set to expire in 2019.

The new lease extends from May 1 until April 30, 2047, and includes the option to renew for another 30 years until 2077.

City Manager Brian Gregory said the museum was asking for a long-term commitment from the city because of the size and scope of its plans to expand.

“The museum is interested in expanding the services it provides and possibly working with other history groups,” he said. “In order to do that, they would need more space, so there’s consideration about possibly constructing a new building on that property.”

The museum would own and maintain the new building, while the city would continue to provide general site maintenance such as lawn mowing and snow removal, he said.

Gregory said the building most likely would be built toward the back of the property, where a barn and silo currently stand.

“[The barn] is probably marginally functional for farming operations but definitely not something that can be utilized for other operations,” he said. “It can’t be retrofitted, and it’s in poor condition. So that building would be removed.”

The size and details of a potential new building are to be determined, but it would be used to expand the museum’s overall exhibit, program, collection and research spaces, according to the ordinance.

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