URAC Recommend Elks Building Purchase For Sign Museum

The Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Advisory Committee has recommended the purchase of the Elks Building in downtown The Dalles so it can be renovated to house a neon sign museum.  The panel approved having the agency seek to purchase the building for $245,000, then transfer the title to David Benko, the original curator of the American Sign Museum of Cincinnati.  His group Rock City Neon would then bear the cost of renovating the Elks Building.  Two separate estimates have put the cost of bringing the building back to a usable condition at over one million dollars.  Rock City Neon has a collection of over 200 signs, and the Portland Art Museum will be a primary fundraiser for the project.  One condition for the sale would include the right for Urban Renewal to recover the building if the museum is not open within two years.  The recommendation goes to the Urban Renewal Agency board, made up of The Dalles City Council, which will consider it on Monday.

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