Whiting mayor optimistic about chances for museums

2013-12-28T00:00:00Z Whiting mayor optimistic about chances for museumsPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

WHITING | The possibility of the National Mascot Hall of Fame finding a permanent home in the city is still alive, Mayor Joe Stahura said.

In fact, he expects it could be February or March when the city receives word on the exact requirements, including building space, that would have to met to lure the currently online-only organization that lauds well-known members such as the San Diego Chicken and the Phillie Phanatic.

Representatives from the National Mascot Hall of Fame visited Whiting in September. Prior to that visit, Stahura gave the city about a 50/50 chance of landing the hall.

"It didn't go down from 50 percent, I can tell you that," Stahura said this week.  "The news we've heard has definitely been positive."

The city has also had discussions with the Chicago Baseball Museum about calling Whiting home. That museum, which would offer a history of all Chicago baseball teams, also has only an online presence at this time.

Representatives from the Chicago Baseball Museum were scheduled to present a business plan to the city today.

Stahura also wants to build a museum with a local flavor that would display a history of the Standard Oil Co.

"I think the local museum is better supported with a second museum with it," Stahura said. "So we would definitely downsize our museum plans and move into a much smaller facility if we didn't have support from the other museums."

Vacant, city-owned property at the corner of 119th and Front streets and a portion that contains a city Public Works facility is the proposed museum site.

The city would construct the building and the museums would be tenants.

Stahura said if both sports-related museums come to the city, it is doubtful the local museum would share the same roof, but would probably be put into an adjacent, smaller building.

Stahura said his goal is to make Whiting a destination place to bolster the city's business district.

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