Jan. 12—BATESVILLE — On behalf of the Batesville Historical Center, Curator Carolyn Dieckmann recently asked the Batesville City Council for $13,000 to repair and replace the doors displayed in the Portals to the Past display throughout the city.
Dieckmann committed to returning any leftover funding after the project is completed.
Mayor Mike Bettice introduced the Belterra fund request to update the Portals to the Past project which the council had previously helped fund.
The Portals to the Past display came to life in 2016 in honor of the Indiana's bicentennial. Dieckmann used some old doors that Councilman Jim Fritsch had in his possession for the initial project. There were a total of 29 portals, 13 of which were doors.
Over the years, the wooden doors had to be taken down and repaired due to weathering.
"I've redone those doors twice in the past five and a half years," Dieckmann said. "It takes me over 80 hours to do those and that's all giving back to the city. That's my own time. That's how much I love Batesville. That's how much I love these doors. That's how much I think we need to keep them going."
Dieckmann will be reducing the number of doors in the project down to nine instead of the current 11. The new doors will be fiberglass with printed photographic panels fastened to the door and brief historical information on each panel.
Additionally, several photographic panels will be taken down to evaluate their weather damage including two at Kroger, one at the VFW, one at the Sherman and one at Amack's Well with the Eureka Band.
Dieckmann estimated the total cost of her venture at $9,200 but asked for $13,000 so that she could finish the project without potentially exceeding her funds with the caveat that she would return any remaining funding. The full request was approved by all members except Councilman Fritsch, who sat out the vote due to his personal connection to the project.
"Without question, the Portals to the Past have been just a great success," Fritsch said. "When it was made, you and I did most of that and we thought it was going to be for just one year, then two years and now it's been five and a half years. People loved them, but they're changing, which is a great thing, and now that we have more art around town, it's nice for a refresh."
Councilman Tracy Rohlfing expressed his appreciation for Dieckmann and everything she does for the city before making a motion to approve her full request.
The portals should be replaced sometime this spring, between March and April. The mayor and the council also agreed to Dieckmann's final request for their physical help placing the new portals in their locations to complete the project this spring.
Josie Clark: email@example.com or 812-651-0873.