The RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc. board Monday (Aug. 2) voted unanimously to proceed with the first two phases of a planned 70,000-square-foot museum and conference center on the Indiana Toll Road in Elkhart County, Ind., the RV industry’s manufacturing hub.
“We felt that it was necessary to move forward with the process to secure some of the money that already has been pledged,” said foundation Chairman Dick Aker, owner of Hart City RV, Elkhart.
Aker said the association has gathered $2.3 million in pledges and contributions for the project, the total cost of which is projected at between $5.7 and $7.5 million.
“We will be glad to get this project going,” he said. “If we don’t get it started, we’ll never get it finished.”
The new museum/conference center, which also will house the RV/MH Hall of Fame, will replace the foundation’s current facility in downtown Elkhart.
Two years ago the not-for-profit foundation paid $80,000 for 40 acres adjacent to the new Exit 96 on the Indiana Toll Road northeast of Elkhart.
The board decided to go ahead with the construction of a 15,000-square-foot RV Hall and a 17,000-square-foot central lobby and theater. The RV Hall will house a museum for artifacts that the foundation already owns.
The 11,000-square-foot first floor of the central lobby and theater will be available to rent for events while 6,000 square feet of space on the second floor will house foundation offices and a library.
The total project is planned to eventually include a supplier hall, conference hall, commercial kitchen, manufactured housing wing and conference center.
“We still anticipate that we will go ahead with all of that,” said Aker, who added the facility is expected to be used by businesses and associations both inside and outside the RV industry.
“We needed some brick and mortar out there to show people that we had something to sell,” Aker said. “This will give us an opportunity renew our fund-raising effort, which had been put on hold for awhile.”