October 22, 2014

BOCC to fund museum building

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
The Johnson County Commission will finance the purchase of a new Johnson County Museum building with debt proceeds rather than reserves.
Commissioners approved the purchase of a 70,000 square foot building at 8788 Metcalf Ave. on Nov. 17 to house the museum and directed staff to review financing options, including general fund reserves, debt, or a combination of the two.
On Dec. 1, staff recommended issuing debt for the $2 million purchase of the property and an additional $1.3 million to stabilize the building’s condition until the museum is able to move in.
“Staff recommends that the county adopt this resolution allowing for project costs to be reimbursed by debt proceeds,” said Robin Symes, assistant budget director. “Staff also recommends entering into a three-year lease arrangement with a local bank with the ability to prepay after September 2012.”
The building was built in the late 1950s and formerly housed a bowling alley and ice skating rink.
Commissioners were told last month that purchasing the building rather than building a new one would save the county between $3.9 million and $9.3 million.
Joe Waters, director of facilities said the museum’s current location is partially unusable because of recent water damage from flooding.
He also added that the museum is in need of additional space.
Mindi Love, director of the museum, told commissioners last month that the building is a familiar architectural landmark with abundant space and easy access for visitors.
“It is the perfect fit for a new home for the museum,” Love said.
Love added that the county would be contributing to a revitalization of Metcalf Avenue by purchasing and preserving the historic building.
Two other familiar landmarks on Metcalf, the White Haven Motor Lodge and Glenwood Theater, were razed in recent years.
“(The building) most likely would not be kept in tact if purchased by another buyer,” Love said.
Love said the building has enough space to eventually house a future National Museum of Suburbia.

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