Danville Basketball Museum Gains Traction
By Jeff Bossert
Planners of a museum in Danville dedicated to more than century of basketball memories have gained a little momentum.
When it’s up and going, the Illinois Hall of Fame Basketball Museum, housed in the city’s David S. Palmer Arena, will include memorabilia at levels from grade school through pro ball.
The initial idea started about five years ago. A number of plaques once on display in a Bloomington hotel were saved when the structure was torn down.
Museum Board President Ron Crick said more additions are coming in for the museum all the time, including a 14-foot scoreboard that came from the Illinois State Armory in Springfield, and dates back to the 1930's.
“And that’s one of those old scoreboards that when the last minute occurs during the basketball game, the scoreboard clock turns red and counts down," he said. "And everybody of a certain age is going to remember those scoreboards.”
The latest fundraising push has included local governments. Museum planners recently told the Danville City Council, and Villages of Tilton and Henning of their plans to apply for a Designated Zone Organization (DZO.) These areas within the Danville-Tilton-Vermilion County Enterprise Zone give museum planners the chance to ask corporations for donations. The businesses then get a tax advantage from the state.
Crick estimates the museum will need $1-to-2-million before it can open its doors, and that could happen later this year.
"We can open with less that that," he said. "But this is a phased-type program. So when I talk about money, I talk about the total amount, not just what it takes to open the doors. But once you start to initiate that momentum, if you can't continue that momentum, things go south in a hurry. And we aren't going to allow that to happen.
But Crick also said he doesn't want to hurry and throw something together just to put up the museum's more than 4,000 items.
He expects the museum board to go before the Vermilion County Board soon with the DZO request.