Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site closing in on $6 million goal for essential upgrades

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INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday morning, Mayor Joe Hogsett, First Lady Janet Holcomb and other leaders announced improvements to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.

Gov. Eric Holcomb was supposed to attend but was unable to go because of commitments at the Statehouse.

The site announced a $6 million capital improvement campaign to “significantly enhance” the 2.5-acre museum grounds with a new gateway, common space and essential upgrades to the former home of the only president elected from Indiana.

“This is a national treasure,” said Mike Wells, chair of the “Old Glory, New Vision” capital campaign. “This space and the museum, in addition to educating more than 17,000 students a year and welcoming over 30,00 total visitors, will help bring our diverse community together for the naturalization of new citizens, voting in local and nation elections, and engaging in non-partisan civil, civic discourse.”

The 16-room home was built in the 1870s for less than $25,000. Except for the time Benjamin Harrison served as a United States senator and his time as President of the United States, he lived at the home for the rest of his life.

Wells said the site had raised more than $5.6 million of its $6 million goal for a gathering space aimed at bringing the community together.

Donations made by May 31 will be matched dollar for dollar.

From the campaign’s website:

Our plan is to create a stunning gateway public space into the Presidential Site that already welcomes over 30,000 visitors a year—along with a welcoming path and neighborway that will make us a larger part of a diverse and growing local community. New signature signage will make the Presidential Site’s presence clear to local traffic. Meanwhile, the prominent new Centennial flagpole will be visible to the more than 170,000 motorists passing through the meeting place of Interstates 70 and 65-quite literally the “Crossroads of America.”

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