Rocker John Mellencamp gives $50K to his Indiana hometown

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FILE – In this Thursday, June 14, 2018, file photo, John Mellencamp performs on stage during the 49th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards gala at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York. The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, has announced a new exhibition of paintings by rocker […]

SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) — Rocker John Mellencamp has donated $50,000 to his southern Indiana hometown for construction of a plaza near a mural that pays homage to the singer-songwriter and his 1980s hit “Small Town.”

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman announced Mellencamp’s gift Tuesday at the end of a municipal board meeting before reading a letter from the singer-songwriter, who grew up in the city about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Indianapolis.

Mellencamp wrote in the letter that the money is earmarked for creation of a plaza in a parking lot adjacent to the mural, which is painted on the side of This Old Guitar Music Store, the Seymour Tribune reported.

The mural celebrating Mellencamp’s career was completed last fall by Indianapolis artist Pamela Bliss and features a 35-foot (10.6-meter) image of Mellencamp leaning on a guitar, and a smaller image of him wearing a Seymour FFA jacket. It includes the lyrics, “I was born in a small town” from his 1985 hit “Small Town” and a sign noting his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Luedeman, whose term as mayor ended Tuesday, said the plaza project will create a friendlier and easier way for people to get pictures of the mural, which Mellencamp — whose other hits include ”Jack and Diane” and “Pink Houses” — signed with his initials during a visit.

Mellencamp said in his letter, which includes a rendering of the plaza, that his family has been in contact with an engineering firm for the plans to create “a very nice meeting area in downtown Seymour.”

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