Berne Community Development Corporation
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Clock tower construction set for spring

The Berne community is about to witness the fulfillment of a long-awaited, history-making event-the construction of the Berne clock tower and Muensterberg plaza.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, a monumental moment came marking the start of construction for the project, as members of the Berne Community Development Corporation met with Mike Schwartz of Limberlost Construction Inc. to sign the contracts to allow work to commence.

In all, three of four needed contracts were signed during the Tuesday meeting. The first authorized Limberlost Construction to serve as the project manager for the project. Schwartz has been involved with the planning and designing of the clock tower and adjoining plaza for quite some time. At the signing, he said, "I'm excited to be part of this. It's an honor and a privilege."

Also signed were contracts with Coreslab Structures, authorizing the installation of the structural steel, the pouring of the concrete panels and their erection, and with Campbellsville Industries Inc. for construction and erection of the tower roof and steeple.

A fourth contract, ready to be finalized with the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, authorizes construction of four clock faces with numerals and hour and minute hands, and a carillon, which will offer chimes and tolls, including over 1,000 different songs programmed for a variety of occasions, seasons and events. Special songs, appropriate to Berne, will be part of the musical package, including the Berne-French and South Adams fight songs and the tunes to "Back Home Again in Indiana" and "On the Banks of the Wabash."

"It's an exciting day," said Attorney Jim Beitler, steering committee co-chairman. "The first seeds were planted almost 10 years ago, and now we're finally seeing it all come to pass."

The Tuesday signings marked the culmination of a five-year fund-raising effort that has seen literally hundreds of people pledge to the project. The most recent notable pledge is a one-family commitment of $250,000 toward the construction of a glockenspiel feature, with 12 figurines that will emerge to memorialize the history of the Berne area. Each character will be about five feet tall and will be located at a height of about 20 feet on the plaza side of the tower. The glockenspiel figurines will include animated movements timed to emerge at specific times throughout the day. Two companies are still competing for this work.

Steering Committee Co-Chairman Roger Muselman said, "We can be proud of what the generous people of Berne have been able to accomplish, especially in today's economy. This is going to forever change the face of Berne."

Site preparation will begin almost immediately, with construction slated for April 2010.

Dedication of the clock tower is planned for Saturday evening, July 31, during the 2010 Swiss Days celebration, with a number of notable dignitaries in attendance.

The public campaign to raise funds for the project is still in progress, with additional three-year pledges arriving daily. The needed money has been secured for the clock tower and glockenspiel, with additional funds still needed to complete the internal stairways and plaza.

"Pledges of $1,000 or more continue to come in from individuals who want to have their name listed on the donor plaque to be placed in the rotunda at the base of the tower," said CDC President Dave Baumgartner. "There's still room for more names on the plaque, but we will need to set a deadline soon in order for the plaque to be ready for the dedication."

The CDC is an Indiana non- profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation, and contributions to the project are tax deductible. Pledges can be mailed to the CDC at PO Box 27, Berne, Ind., 46711. Pledge forms can be printed from the clock tower Web site at

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