While details are still being sorted out, the town of Prosper is a bit closer to establishing a new site for its history museum.
The Town Council made an offer to the Prosper Historical Society to permanently relocate the museum to the town’s original fire station and water works building, located at 409 East First Street. The historical society wants the site, but needs assistance from the town to renovate the building for use.
“Right now we just don’t have the funds to repurpose and maintain it,” Bill Hays, president of the Prosper Historical Society, said. “We will take it if the city will refurbish and bring it to code and maintain it — that’s where it stands right now.”
The process for choosing a new site has taken months of collaboration between the town council and the historical society. The current site under consideration for the museum is adjacent to Ralph Boyer Park. Currently the building is being used by employees of Prosper’s Development Services and Parks and Recreation departments.
Hays said neither side is unhappy with the site, it’s just a question of resources to sustain it.
Robyn Battle, town secretary and public information officer, added that while the town may have encountered some difficulties with finding the right spot for the museum, it plans to continue working with the Prosper Historical Society to come to an agreement.
“The Town is appreciative of the PHS and its efforts to preserve Prosper’s history,” she said. ”To assist them in this effort, the town has offered the PHS space in the historic water works building, which is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In addition to the space for a designated museum, the city has also offered display space within the new town hall building.
“Although we are disappointed they declined our offer, we are excited that they accepted our invitation to incorporate wall space and display cases into the design of the Town Hall/Multi-Purpose Facility for the display of the Prosper Historical Society’s artifacts and other items,” Battle said. “We think this partnership will be a benefit to the entire community for the foreseeable future.”
Currently, the museum is located in the Prosper Independent School District’s administration building. The historical society is hoping for space to expand the museum and the space in the new town hall building is a great steppingstone, Hays added.
“Number one — we’re glad to get it,” Hays said. “We’ve been working for 14 years to get a new town hall and we (the PHS) hoped to get space in the town hall, so this is a compromise with the town.”
If a compromise over the water works building is achieved, conversion of the building would start in 2017 after the new town hall is completed.
The town council also proposed Frontier Park as a site for a new veterans’ memorial. The site was chosen from among a list of five areas, including several located in downtown. Frontier Park was proposed for its parking, modern facilities and high volume foot traffic.
The park is also at the center of many of the town’s celebrations, which may raise the profile of the memorial, according to the Prosper Historical Society.
“Prosper is a growing community,” Hays says. “We cannot see a town as vibrant and growing and not have a museum to display our history.”