Friday, February 10, 2017

771. Citizen Assistance Needed On New Archives Building

I received this message today and it needs to be passed on and acted upon. Lend your voice to the job of getting the new State Archives building funded and built.
Genealogists, use your clout!                      [Disclaimer: I'm a member of the FISA.]

            The Friends of the Indiana State Archives, a non-profit group that supports the State Archives, asks for your help.  We call on SIA members to contact their Indiana General Assembly legislators of both chambers to support funding of a new Indiana State Archives building. 

            This link will help you find your legislators and contact them:

            Here’s the backstory:

 As you know, thanks to you in 2015 the General Assembly approved $25 million to build a new State Archives building.  A caveat was that it was to be funded by sale of rights to cell towers on state-owned land.  In September 2016, then-Gov. Pence announced a multi-million-dollar deal with an Ohio telecom firm to manage the cell towers.  This brought on a loud chorus of complaints from Indiana telecoms for various reasons.  Earlier this week Gov. Holcomb announced the cancellation of the telecom deal.  He said further that he hoped to find funding for the State Archives building in the budget to be passed by this year’s General Assembly. Planning and design work for the new building has been halted since last fall. 

            Your help is needed.  Please contact your legislators to urge support for funding the State Archives in the budget to be passed this year.  Here are some talking points you might use:

*The General Assembly voted to fund a new State Archives building in 2015; now that the Pence cell-tower deal that would have funded the building has been canceled, they need to follow through by funding it in the regular budget

*Since January 1 of 2017, there already have been five (5) leaks in the current warehouse building, including one caused by a bullet and one in the roof of a vault holding vitally important records

*Environmental conditions in the warehouse building continue to endanger State Archives records

*The more they delay, the higher the cost of building

*The State Archives building represents good government and wise management of resources; it is not simply a bicentennial celebration project

*The State Archives building represents an opportunity to build infrastructure for long-term benefit to the state.​

            We ask that persons contact Rep. Tim Brown (Tippecanoe County) to fund the State Archives building.  As chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, he is vitally important in making the state budget. Please take a moment to call, email, or post a letter to your legislators on this important public-policy matter.

            For further reading, here are links to news articles on this matter (most recent on top):

            Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.

 Stephen E. Towne, President, Friends of the Indiana State Archives

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