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by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond

CITY SEEKS CONTROL OF ICRCM

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum has 30 days to respond to Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s offer for the City of Greensboro to take over management of the struggling facility.

Under the proposal offered by Vaughan at today’s meeting of the museum’s board of directors, the city would leverage existing municipal staff and resources to operate the museum. The current museum board would be dissolved and a new board appointed.

“Obviously the museum has been struggling,” Vaughan said. “The news of the last week hasn’t been helpful. We would like to see the museum be a success so we threw them a lifeline.”

Vaughan said the current ICRCM board is the biggest barrier to the museum’s success.

That board fired Executive Director Lacy Ward in a surprise move last week. Ward recently made headlines when he reported several operational updates to the city council as part of a sustainability plan put in place after the city loaned the museum $1.5 million to avoid default on larger financial obligations.

Several city council members stated then that Ward had turned the museum around. City Manager Jim Westmoreland said that the future of the museum seemed positive under Ward’s leadership.

All that changed when the museum board fired Ward in a split vote. Vaughan voted against Ward’s firing.

“He had started to build relationships that were giving the museum some long-needed credibility,” Vaughan said. “I think he was on the verge of being able to raise some money. There were people talking very positively about the museum.”

Vaughan said that after reflecting on the museum’s finances she felt it became clear that the city could operate the facility at a lower cost than the current administration.

At today’s museum board meeting, member Skip Alston was making a motion related to fundraising goals. Vaughan said she made a substitute motion, which she described as a solution for the museum’s fundraising issues.

Once she began making the motion, which was seconded, board member Hurley Derrickson motioned to table the issue. Under rules of procedure, the motion to table takes precedence. It passed 10-9, Vaughan said.

Vaughan notified the board that her offer was good for 30 days.

“We know that it is something that we can do and if they had said yes we would have been prepared,” Vaughan said.

The museum’s short-term financial prospects “give us concern,” she added.

Transparency would be the operating principle if the city takes over museum management, Vaughan said, noting that meetings and financial information would be “open to the public.”

“It is very important to preserve this symbol. It is something Greensboro can be proud of,” Vaughan said.

LIBRARY PLANS UNVEILED RATIO

Architects, Inc., an award winning Raleigh-based architecture firm, has unveiled the new plans for the central library in Downtown Winston-Salem. The project will cost roughly $20 million.

Deputy County Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt told WFDD earlier, “Some of those things are green elements, one building and not two, which is what currently exists. There’s also lots of windows and transparency in the building, and things like a cafe and so forth. These are elements that people indicated that they wanted to see in the Forsyth County Central Library.”

In a presentation to the Forsyth County Commissioners held Thursday at the Forsyth County Government Chamber, Jesse Green revealed the renderings (see above) for the new library. He also said the new building will have added green space and more public event space. Green also said that the second floor will have a specific area for teens, and the third floor will have views of Pilot Mountain. There will also be a cafe, an auditorium, and a reading garden. The auditorium will seat approximately 308 people.

The new library will also be updating its technology by offering e-readers and digital versions of books, which may lessen the physical stock in the library.

Green also described the updated tech offerings as a “technology petting zoo.”

He went on to explain that the parking underneath will be retained from the old building and they will not be creating additional parking. !

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