International Civil Rights Center and Museum Gets $1.5 Million Loan

5:10 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, N.C. -When The International Civil Rights Center and Museum opened in 2010, the goal was to bring in about 200,000 visitors a year. Instead, the museum now brings in about 75,000 visitors a year.

People and organizations donated $1.6 million when it opened. Now, donations have dropped to about $270,000 a year.
Memberships to the museum brought in about $9,000 in 2010. Today, the museum brings in on about $2,500 from memberships. 

Now, the city council has agreed to loan the museum $1.5 million. But, that money comes with a price.

Chairman Skip Alston is resigning, but will remain on the board. The executive director will step down, but still work at the museum. Plus, the mayor and city manager will both sit on the museum's board.

"I think that overhaul will be good not only for Civil Rights Museum, but it will also give us new vision...That's what I was hoping we would be able to have going forth. We also need to have new people to help guide us," Chairman Skip Alston said.

Three council members, Zack Matheny, T. Diane Bellamy-Small and Tony Wilkins all voted against loaning the museum money. However, Mayor Robbie Perkins and the rest of the council pushed the loan through.

"There are lots of folks that can identify all the problems. We're into identifying solutions, and working together to make Greensboro a better place. We can pick it apart by identifying all the problems. But, we have a significant historic site right in the center of our downtown," Mayor Perkins said.

Councilmember Matheny said, "To get it two months before an election is too late. We should have been at the table a long time ago. I think we have some management structures that need to change. We've got some investment structure that needs to change. We've got to get citizens' buy-in. We don't have citizens' buy-in right now."

The city will forgive the loan if the museum is able to raise $1.5 million dollars on its own.


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