City Council agrees to allocate $2 million to Civil Rights Museum


After much discussion, the Greensboro City Council voted 7 to 1 to allocate $2 million to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum with a few contingencies on Wednesday, March 23 during its annual retreat.

The motion introduced by Councilman Goldie Wells added the condition that the Civil Rights Museum provide the requested information and that it be analyzed to the satisfaction of city staff before money is allocated.

Councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann voted no and Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter was absent.

Council member and mayoral candidate Justin Outling was the most vocal opponent of the allocation of funds before receiving the information requested by the Civil Rights Museum.

Hoffmann said: “I have to look at their finances and look at these losses. As much as anyone on this board, I want the museum to succeed.

Hoffmann added: “We have the finances today. Personally, I need time to go through them.

City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba gave a presentation on what the Civil Rights Museum was asking for and what information he had requested from the museum but had not received. However, Jaiyoba placed the media so far away from the city council that many details of what he said could not be heard.

But the request was for a $1 million grant this year to be used at closing to purchase the neighboring building on the corner of Elm Street and Market Street as well as the parking lot behind the building which runs the length of the Market block to February 1 Place.

The purchase of the building is part of the Civil Rights Museum’s efforts to be designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The museum is asking for an additional million to be paid at the rate of $250,000 per year for four years, for a total of $2 million. Jaiyeoba said it was unclear how that $250,000 a year would be used.

Outling said it requested additional information similar to that requested for an economic development incentive. Outling said he wanted to know how many jobs would be created that paid more than $15 an hour, noting that the city council had a policy of requiring jobs to pay a minimum of $15 an hour.

Outling said, “I totally agree with the concept. It’s a great idea, but we have to do our due diligence like we do with all projects. »

Jaiyeoba suggested that the city council approve the allocation, and then if the requested information was not provided or deemed unacceptable, the city could take back the money.

Outling said, “The idea of ​​giving them the money first and then getting the information is backwards.”

However, Outling agreed to vote for the motion to allocate the money subject to receiving the requested information.

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