Oregon leaders consider plans to revamp a nearly century old building

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OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — An Oregon building known as the heart of the city could get a new look.

A recent proposal would put a museum, inside the Coliseum.

The changes would include the Coliseum Museum of Art, Antiques and Americana renting the first and second floor of the building from the city.

Over 70 people packed the meeting to discuss it.

“For Oregon to succeed and grow change is necessary,” said Oregon resident Carly Spell.

She also owns Art Casting of Illinois located in Oregon.

Spell said the addition of a museum would enhance the city.

“We see a majority of benefits for everybody in the city as well as people that would be coming into the area. The history in Oregon is phenomenal art wise,” Spell said. “It’s a positive venue here at the coliseum to create a wonderful space for people to come in, look around and encourage tourists from all over to come here.”

Oregon Mayor, Ken Williams, said the proposed plan won’t take up all the space in the Coliseum.

“The majority of the center part of the coliseum is still available to hold events and special type of things that we may have here for our citizens,” Williams said.

Some residents like Jim Barnes see flaws in the proposed plan.

“It’s not utilized like it used to be years ago, but I just could not see a 49 year lease,” he said. “I think a lot of people feel the same way, but a lot of people didn’t show up.”

Those against the proposal want the Coliseum’s history preserved.

“I want to see Oregon succeed and I want to see the community get better but I don’t want to see the character and the beautifullness and the uniqueness of it destroyed,” said Oregon resident Sharon Jacklich.

But Spell said residents could look at it from a different perspective.

“History is all about change, if you stay the same it’s stagnant, nothing ever happens. So we’re encouraging everybody to accept this wonderful change that could be here,” Spell said.

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