There’s always next year

As 2014 draws to a close there is one group in the Triad we hope has a better year moving forward.

Undoubtedly, 2014 in Greensboro has been dominated by discussion of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, its trials and travails as what could be the cultural cornerstone of the city fights for its very survival.

The year began with the museum in a good position, with the city having agreed to loan the entity $1.5 million to ensure tax credit obligations were met and to provide a boost for sagging operational expenses.

But once February hit, all hell broke loose. A city council member discovered the museum’s loan contract hadn’t been signed, despite the city already forwarding hundreds of thousands of dollars their way. After further review, the city attorney at the time was fired.

Demands for financial transparency on behalf of taxpayers dominated the next round, with taxpayers rightfully asking for an accounting of how their money was spent. Museum leaders scoffed at the idea, but finally gave in in order to get the next round of city funding.

The acrimonious relationship between the museum board and its benefactor, that is the taxpayers of Greensboro and their elected representatives, seemed to smooth over once a new director was hired. But that director had no sooner begun to implement forward thinking organizational changes than he was sacked for no logical reason.

The museum’s board wrangled with the city over every possible issue, even charging racism when the mayor suggested that perhaps the city itself should run the museum, given the legacy of financial peril and sagging attendance figures reported to the ICRCM board in the last quarter of the year.

It’s unclear if the museum will have operating cash moving into the New Year.

The remaining city funds are supposed to guarantee tax credit obligations, and one of the museum’s founders said he’ll be asking the city to pony up $500,000 a year in support moving forward.

We say good luck with that. !

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