July 10, 2012
Following a 6-3 split decision by the 28E board of the Cedar River Complex two weeks ago to accept a $10,000 annual user fee from the Mitchell County Historical Society on the premise that the top floor of the historical museum also be vacated, things have been relatively quiet leading up to next Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting of the CRC board.
This past week, however, President of the Mitchell County Historical Society Kurt Meyer did respond to the situation, as the CRC joint-powers board continues to explore new ways to create revenue in order to establish a balanced budget in the facility’s third year of operation.
CRC officials said they hope to obtain more revenue by renting out the 4,000 square-foot space on the upper floor that the museum currently occupies in the massive $18 million CRC facility, which includes a wellness center, aquatic center and state-of-the-art auditorium.
The museum also occupies the main floor and currently encompasses a total of 8,000 square feet of space in the CRC.
Meyer and other members of the historical society, however, say they have no plans to give up the museum’s upper floor as was approved by the CRC Board, and will be taking the issue up in consultation with the group’s attorney, Ralph Smith of Charles City.
In the meantime, historical society members not only continue to utilize the upper floor of the museum, but have plans to expand its offerings.
“I think it’s safe to say this is anything but a done deal,” said Meyer. “Simply stated, if our CRC colleagues wish us to vacate the second floor, it will require more than an ill-advised vote of their board. Our current course of action is to continue utilizing space, including the second floor, along the same lines as we have been.”
“Our plans also include upgrading our second floor exhibit by installing a ‘hall of distinction’ display, featuring local historical figures and local enterprises that have helped make Mitchell County what it is today,” he added. “I think the visiting public will appreciate this exhibit a great deal - and at the same time, it will help visitors learn more and know more about the breadth and depth of local history.”
Meyer said the historical society doesn’t necessarily plan to appeal the decision, but to take no action on it at all.
“Perhaps the best description is to say we do not intend to comply with the vote taken earlier this month, since it’s inconsistent with our reading of the 28E agreement,” said Meyer. “Because we currently have use of the space, because this space has been incorporated into our long-term museum plans, and because we are primarily a display organization that requires ample space, we do not intend to relinquish use of the second floor.”
While the next CRC Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17, the Mitchell County Historical Society doesn’t meet until Thursday, July 26.
Other issues that are expected to come up at next week’s CRC 28E Board meeting are the approval of a new budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, as well as a decision on CRC Director Angie Huffman, who is now on a temporary leave of absence pending approval of the budget.
Huffman, who resigned three weeks ago, was put on a leave of absence after the CRC board refused to accept her resignation.
Entities making up the CRC and its 28E joint powers board include the City of Osage, Osage Municipal Utilities, the Osage Education Foundation, Osage School District, Mitchell County Ag Society and Mitchell County Historical Society.
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