Comer hopes to have automotive history on display by Labor Day.
Mayor David McMickle projects that the city’s travel museum will open in early September, with the project being five percent complete .
Using grant funds, Comer leaders are rehabbing a dated brick building behind city hall into a museum honoring the rise of the automobile in the 20th century.
In its prime, the building — which was once served as a livery stable before the automobile took over — concealed new year model Fords before they were unveiled at the showroom.
Comer is receiving $344,000 in federal grant funds — distributed by the Georgia Department of Transportation — for the project.
The city had to add work to the original plans after discovering an unstable section of the rear wall of the more than 100-year-old building.
“The roof was basically sitting on top of the brick walls in the back,” McMickle said. “So the brick walls started to fall away. So we had to come back in there and the structural engineer come back in there and redo it.”
When complete, the 2,288 square-foot space will serve as more that just a nod to automobiles past.
With a 424 square foot meeting area in addition to the museum floor space, the multifunctional building can be utilized for large group functions.
The extra space will also allow the Comer City Council to move its meetings from its close quarters in city hall to the travel museum meeting room.
While Comer leaders tend to construction details, they must also determine how they’re going to attract visitors. McMickle wants to promote the museum through the Madison County Visitor’s Bureau, Comer’s website and local advertisement. There’s also talk of holding a grand opening once the museum is complete.
Comer is also arranging for displays — possibly even an automobile — once the building is ready.
“That is still in the works,” McMickle said. “We’re trying to get possibly a car to put in there. We’re looking to get old museum photos and stuff like that to put in there.”
McMickle added that he’d like to incorporate citizen input when deciding on exhibits, “so they feel that they have a voice in what they’re doing.”
McMickle said he doesn’t plan to open with an empty building.
“There’s a lot of history and a lot people in Madison County that have a lot of good stuff,” he said “It’s just a matter of seeing who’s interested in coming on to help us out and provide some of that stuff.”