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Clark County Historical Society levy passes, Champaign County fails

The Clark County Historical Society will have additional revenue for maintenance and improvement at the downtown Heritage Center, but voters rejected a request for money to extend hours at the Champaign County Historical Society.

In Clark County, voters approved Tuesday a new 0.3-mill, five-year property tax for the historical society with 53 percent of voters in favor and 47 percent opposed, according to final, unofficial results.

MORE ELECTION NEWS: Clark County Historical Society seeks new tax to support museum

The Clark County levy will cost $10.50 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home and generate about $700,000 a year.

More than 85 percent of the money will cover maintenance costs of the more than 100-year-old Heritage Center and about 15 percent will cover costs to refurbish exhibits and allow more historic Clark County items to be displayed, said Roger Sherrock, CEO of the Clark County Historical Society.

“I do think the building is a selling point for our community,” Sherrock said.

He credited the historical society’s levy commission with making a strong case for the revenue.

RELATED: South Charleston seeks income tax increase for road repairs

The building is a local landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic sites. But it needs repairs to several key components, Sherrock has said, including its towers, elevators, and heating and air conditioning systems.

The historical society won’t start collecting the additional money until 2019, Sherrock said. But knowing the levy has been approved will allow staff to begin planning repairs.

MORE: Nearly 100-year-old Springfield farm up for auction

The site regularly hosts educational events, and includes permanent and rotating exhibits that trace the region’s history. The Heritage Center opened as a historical museum in 2001. The large stone-and-brick building originally served as City Hall and then was a marketplace for several years.

In Champaign County, voters turned down a levy request that would have allowed its historical society and museum to open more days. The Champaign County levy failed with 52 percent opposed and 48 percent of voters in favor to the 0.3-mill, five-year levy, according to final, unofficial results.

Museum officials in Champaign County wanted to hire a full-time director and expand the museum’s hours to five or six days per week. Currently, it relies solely on volunteers and is open two days per week.

The museum displays items ranging from prehistoric American Indian artifacts to Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to Champaign County Civil War veterans.

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