Ken Michalove, a former Asheville city manager and mayor, has been on a crusade against further funding for the Asheville Art Museum’s big expansion project. You can read the background here and here and here. Michalove plans to make another presentation to Asheville City Council on July 23. He’s also asked to meet with Asheville’s Tourism Development Authority to talk about museum funding. Here’s part of his latest letter to Pam Myers, executive director of the art museum:
How much money has the Asheville Art Museum raised towards the “New Building” and the “total capital fund drive of the $24 milion” dollars that is described in the TDA application? I would like this information noted separately by money in the bank and pledges that cannot be withdrawn and/or that have time limitations.
Exactly what is the Asheville Art Museum total capital fund drive ? I have heard anywhere from 15 million to 24 million? The Citizen-Times Article July 2 stated $20 million which I assume was information you gave the reporter. However, according to your fund drive commitments made in the 2010 Tourism Development Authority (“TDA”) Grant application, the amount is $24 million. When questioned by Councilman Pelly June 25, City Manager Jackson stated $22 million. The July 2, Citizen-Times article, comment by reporter Sabian Warren, “ She declined to say how much money had been raised from public and private sources”.
Why so secretive? Unless, due to minimal support to date, misplaced priorities, misinformation and defaults are an embarrassment to you and the Art Museum Board. Likely, when the true amount is publicly known it will cause the abandonment of your pet project as initially visualized. When will the final plans and specifications (not schematics) for this new building be presented to the City of Asheville and the Pack Place Board?
It appears that you and the Asheville Art Museum Board of Trustees are involved in a hoax regarding this new building idea. You, representing the Board, have defaulted in performance on the TDA grant twice since 2007. TDA has held $1.5 million for the Asheville Art Museum for over 6 years. And, by your admission in the Asheville Citizen-Times article July 2 you will not be able to meet the January 31, 2014 TDA Grant deadline and the Art Museum will be in default for the third time. Unfortunately, for the Asheville/Buncombe community this TDA money could have been used for viable economic development projects that would create jobs and room nights. The Asheville Art Museum does not have a viable project, just a lot of empty promises.