The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 12, 2011

Boards advance museum proposal

JOPLIN, Mo. — Both of the Joplin Museum Complex boards agreed Tuesday to move forward to the next phase of study of a proposal to restore the Union Depot as a new home for the museum.

But the boards have questions about how they would pay the moving and operating costs for the new quarters, and they will include that concern in a letter they agreed to send to the city to advance the proposal.

An architect hired by City Manager Mark Rohr to analyze restoration costs of the historic train depot has placed the total cost at nearly $7.7 million. That does not include moving the museum’s collections or constructing climate-controlled storage.

It also does not include the cost of staffing and operating a new museum, and even perhaps retaining the existing building in Schifferdecker Park for storage and archiving.

Rohr, asked last month by the Globe how the moving and operating costs would be paid, said he was not yet ready to detail a plan for those expenses. He said the city could move the museum, but he was not ready to discuss funding the operating costs.

He could not be reached Tuesday night for comment in response to the questions raised by board members.

Restoration of the depot as a museum site is part of a plan proposed by Rohr for a $60 million to $65 million redevelopment of the northern side of downtown and the construction of a cultural arts center and town green park. The plan has drawn the support of civic groups such as Connect2Culture, which is advancing the idea.

Rohr has said he will finance the project with a mix of private donations, state and federal grants, and tax credits, but with no added tax obligation. He said he needed a letter of interest from the museum boards for some grant applications this month and next month that could help pay for the construction.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Joplin Globe or register for our E-Edition at joplinglobe.com.

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