September 2, 2012
Marysville, Indiana: Town working to Restore its community center, confidence
By Peter Smith, Courier Journal
Squinting in the sun and swatting away sweat bees on a hot August afternoon, a cluster of building experts and local officials investigated the remains of the Marysville Community Center.
The March 2 tornado outbreak ripped off the roof of the former schoolhouse, built in the 1930s. After closing as a school in the 1970s, it was the site of family reunions, birthday parties and other gatherings.
There was “something going on here just about all year round … at least once or twice a week in the summertime,” said trustee William Bussey of Orange Township, which includes Marysville.
The building, located across the way from the signature water tower bearing the town’s name — itself left standing despite the winds — served as one of the few communal focal points in this tiny, former railroad town in northern Clark County, Ind.
The center was insured for up to $100,000 in damage, Bussey said, and the group March2Recovery has also helped by enlisting volunteers to clean out debris and coordinate plans for rebuilding.
The core of the building, made of red brick arrayed in various patterns, remains solid, said New Albany architect Lawrence Timperman. “These old school buildings were built to withstand a lot.”
Restoring the community center, Bussey said, would be an important sign of confidence in the community — which had been described as “gone” by a widely quoted deputy sheriff in the hours after the tornado outbreak.
“Maybe it won’t be the same town, but it will be a different town … maybe a better town,” Bussey said.
Such plans cheer Henryville contractor Bill Barrett, who was among the last to attend school in the building before Marysville students began going to regional schools.
“It’s got a lot of historical value for a small town,” he said.