Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell is working to make his city in Cass County the next home for the Indiana Transportation Museum.
The museum has called Noblesville home for the past 52 years, but last month the city's Parks and Recreation Board voted to end the relationship. Local officials there had been critical of the way the museum maintained the property.
Kitchell says finding the museum a new home is about preserving Indiana’s heritage.
"For the better part of a century it was really the railroads that made Indiana the crossroads of America because they were right in the middle of everything,” he says.
The nonprofit museum operated the Indiana Fair train and other excursion lines for decades, generating tourism dollars. Kitchell says when people buy tickets to the Transportation Museum, more than 50 percent are coming from outside a 25-mile radius of Kokomo.
"This is a destination tourism thing and those are the kind of tourism dollars places like ours need to capture to really be successful," Kitchell says.
Kitchell signed a memorandum of understanding last year to bring the museum to Logansport.
“We want to find them short-term quarters up here. There’s been some negotiations for some property and the rail access they need to do what they need to do," Kitchell says "Eventually we would like to have them here permanently and after a year of that memorandum of understanding come up with a long term plan to get them here and grow what their mission is."
Kitchell says there is a desire for more seasonal runs in the summer and fall. The Transportation Museum will be back in the spring for an Easter run. The Broad Ripple train (purchased for a dollar back in the '80s) was restored and ran to Logansport in 1988. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of that train and the hope is to have it back in Logansport next November.