Area dignitaries participate in the May 1 groundbreaking for the Harmony Community House, including Bud Erny, Town Marshal Bob Parr (hidden), Town Councilman Don McCollister, Kathleen Weissenberger, Council President Janice Gooch, Councilman Elmer Pollard, Suzanne Erwin, State Rep. Andy Thomas, Jim Pell, Leslee McDonald, Bob Thompson (hidden), Donna Mullenix, Judge Robert Pell and John Pell.
The Harmony Town Council held a groundbreaking ceremony at noon, May 1st, at the site of the Harmony Community House. The new building will be constructed on the now empty plot near the intersection of Border Street and U.S. 40. The Council received a $480,000 Focus Fund Grant to cover most of the building costs. The town will provide the remaining 10 per cent. Council members, committee members, and the citizens of Harmony have spent 15 years working and saving to bring this project to the point of breaking ground.
Several dignitaries and residents attended the event including State Rep. Andy Thomas (R-Brazil), Clay Circuit Judge Robert Pell (formerly the Town of Harmony attorney), Kathleen Weissenberger (Director, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs), Bud Erny, (Erny and Associates Architects, Vincennes), Larry Neidigh (Owner of Neidigh Contractors, Bloomington), Jeff Pruitt (WTH, Huntingburg), John and Rosie Pell (former owners of the land), Jim and Shirley Pell, Alice Sawyer, and Judy Maurer.
Town Council President Janice Gooch welcomed everyone and introduced the out-of-town guests. She led the group in the "Pledge of Allegiance." Elmer Pollard offered a prayer of thanks and asked for guidance on the building project. Mrs. Gooch gave a short history of the project and said, "I am proud of the community and all who have helped make the community house possible. Come back and use the facilities when the building is done."
She thanked everyone for coming and invited all in attendance to stay for refreshments. Linda Chaney, Chaney's Diner and Deli, served a variety of sandwiches, cookies, coffee, tea, and lemonade.
Larry Neidigh predicted noticeable changes to the area very soon. As lowest bidder, Neidigh Construction Corporation was awarded the contract for the building at a special meeting on April 21st. Crown Electric and B&S HVAC will participate in the contract. Neidigh Construction did the police station and library at Ellettsville and several projects at ISU in Terre Haute. His latest project was the Alpha Tau Omega house near Lincoln Quad on the university campus.
Kathleen Weissenberger is the new director of Community Affairs for the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), formerly known as the Indiana Department of Commerce. The agency approved the grant to build the community house. The grant monies come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development but are administered through OCRA. The Town Council submitted the application months ago and saw the first drawings for the project last August. Bud Erny of Erny and Associates did the drawings and revisions to meet the Harmony budget.
Debbie Bennett, WTH Technologies, helped to write the grant for the town of Harmony. WTH will oversee how the monies are spent with Jeff Pruitt acting as the Grant Administrator for the project.
The Harmony Community House will have a banquet hall with fireplace, kitchen, smaller meeting room, storage, restrooms, and good parking. It is hoped that a deck can be added at a later date. The structure will give people of the area a place to hold special dinners, wedding receptions, meetings, voting, and other events. The structure's target completion is set for November.
Council members attending the ceremony were: President Janice Gooch, Don McCollister, Elmer Pollard, Leslee Mc Donald, Clerk-Treasurer Donna Mullenix, and Assistant Clerk-Treasurer Suzanne (Parr) Erwin. Also attending were Town Marshal Bob Parr and Storm Sewer Committee Member Bob Thompson.