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Museum eyes more city funds page 3
City officials are willing to consider additional money for slavery museum, but want more openness about the project.

Date published: 11/18/2005

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Classically trained trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of jazz at the Lincoln Center, is offering use of the facility without charge, Smith said. Singer and dancer Ben Vereen, who is performing on Broadway, will appear with Marsalis.

Smith said the museum is on track to open in October 2007. The land is cleared and the foundation is expected to be laid soon, he said. After that, the builder will order and install steel girders.

Yesterday, Councilman Hashmel Turner Jr. had not seen the accounting report, but said he is confident museum officials will answer whatever questions his colleagues pose if a meeting is arranged.

Given that the $1 million loan is being repaid, Turner said he "wouldn't object" to additional financial help.

"They have proved their credibility so I don't see where there would be a problem," he said.

Mayor Tom Tomzak said Foster didn't mention asking for more financial help when he talked to her Tuesday.

"I'd have to see the application and evaluate it at the time," he said.

Councilman Fortune could not be reached for comment.

Kelly and Devine expressed reservations about additional financial aid, saying they need more information.

"I'd be willing to consider it after we had an opportunity to review the documentation and the reports from the initial $1 million loan expenditures," Kelly said.

Since city money paid for the studies, Kelly said they should be open for public view. Without them, Kelly said he couldn't fully understand what museum officials had done with the money.

"It's difficult just looking at a ledger sheet," he said. "You can't tell much until you see the fruits of those expenditures."

Devine said some of her constituents told her they also want to see the studies. She's willing to consider additional financing for the museum, but thinks officials there should recognize that openness on spending would be essential.

"I think there probably would be different parameters if money were ever loaned again," she said.

To reach PAMELA GOULD: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com


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