POINT PLEASANT — The Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center recently placed a sign at the future home of the museum on Main Street and they will begin demolition soon to clear the site.
Museum Director Jack Fowler said asbestos is currently being removed from the two buildings which stand on the lot. One was finished on Friday and the other will be finished on Tuesday. Fowler said demolition will likely begin the first full week of January and the lots should be cleared by the end of the month.
The next phase would be to design the building — including how many stories it will have, the dimensions, offices, aquarium rooms, bathrooms, conference rooms, libraries, etc.
“We have to put all that together to fit in the size of building that we can construct with the money that’s available,” Fowler said.
Fowler added the lots were purchased with the donation from one individual. The River Museum Foundation will use the money from the fire insurance from the old museum. Fowler said that insurance money is in the hands of the city, so the foundation will have to deed the property over to the city once the lots are cleared.
The lot is in the 300-block of Main Street in Point Pleasant.
“We think it’s a great location,” Fowler said. “It’s so visible — it’s right in the center of town. We’ll surely have a lot more walk in traffic there than we had downtown.”
Fowler said he is hoping construction will begin around June 2020 for the new museum.
“What we’re looking for is to be bigger and better, but again, it’s all a matter of finance,” Fowler said.
Fowler said many of the donations and financial support the museum and foundation receives comes from people outside of Mason County and even outside of West Virginia.
The Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center is still open at a temporary location on the 200-block of Main Street. Fowler said the gift shop is open along with exhibits.
Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.