September 15, 4:43 PM click here to comment > 2
In recent newspaper reports and e-mails to members, representatives of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) have claimed that MOHAI “will be forced to close its doors” if the City does not commit additional funding. We don’t think MOHAI is being straight with its members or the public.
Here is the context:
Less than a year ago, MOHAI informed the City Council that the total cost of creating a new MOHAI in the Armory – including renovation of the facility, purchase of new exhibits, creation of a new endowment, and many other “soft costs” – would be $60 million. MOHAI’s budget is linked HERE.
MOHAI has now lined up nearly $80 million in funding. This includes $40 million of City funds, which is $25 million more than MOHAI’s budget projected. A summary of proceeds/sources of funds to date is linked HERE.
The Mayor has not challenged any portion of the existing funding. The current dispute between MOHAI and the City concerns whether MOHAI will receive an additional $7 million in funds from the sale of City properties.
Given that MOHAI already has $80 million — $20 million more than its own budget called for — we are skeptical of the claim that MOHAI will be forced to close if it does not receive additional money. We have asked MOHAI to consider that many other community institutions and services are truly in jeopardy in this environment. Rather than looking for ways to spend excess funds, MOHAI should “make it work” with existing funding. The mayor spoke to this issue last week on Seattle Channel’s Ask the Mayor. The following is a short clip on the topic: http://tinyurl.com/274s3bn
The City Council will ultimately decide this matter. The Mayor has advocated against allocating more funds – at least until Council has conducted a careful review of funding priorities. I have previously written about this issue on The Stranger’s SLOG, which you can read HERE.
Posted by: Carl Marquardt