Traverse City’s History Center says it can operate without city support beginning in the summer of 2014. But until then it’s asking for continued funding. City officials approved part of it Monday night.
The $50,000 contribution will come from Downtown Development Authority funds instead of the city’s general budget.
Bryan Crough, the DDA director, says the History Center attracts a fair number of people downtown with its events. But Center officials will have to make the case that they’re on their way to becoming self-supporting before any more funding is approved.
“They will have to come to the DDA and the City again at budget time to talk about any future,” Crough says.
Board member Steve Morris says the History Center is moving in the right direction. It has increased its revenues with special events in each of the last two years.
“We think that in order to give us the kind of a footing that’s going to insure that we succeed, we need the city’s help for another year and a half,” Morris says.
The Center is banking on a final $100,000 contribution from the city next year. That represents nearly a third of the Center’s projected budget. And it would carry the operation into the summer of 2014.
Under a lease agreement, the Center has managed the city’s collections and the historic building that houses them for the last decade. And Morris says the old Carnegie Library is in need of some expensive repairs.
“It’s an architectural treasure, however, that was gifted to the community by Andrew Carnegie back in 1906 on property that was given to the community by Perry Hannah at that same time.”
As part of its plan to become self-supporting, the Center’s Board also is asking the City to turn over the collections and the building to them. Morris says that will make it easier to raise funds from private sources.
City officials say with restricted budgets they no longer can afford to support the History Center.