GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After a $750,000 check was cut with no signed contract, after two missed audit deadlines, even after months of back and forth, The International Civil Rights Center and Museum still has a deal with the city of Greensboro.
The council voted on Tuesday to finalize the $1.5 million loan. It passed 7 to 2. Councilmen Zack Matheny and Tony Wilkins voted against the move.
"They've jumped through hoops, they've jumped through fire. I think we can look for funding, state, federal whatever but I do not think we should delay this one more day," explained Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter.
Councilwoman Sharon Hightower said, "Carolina Bank has confidence in the museum, I don't see why we don't."
Council members and city staff have been meeting with museum leadership for months to ask about sustainability plans and financial reports. A majority of the council agreed it was time for the city to move forward with the loan, but Councilmen Matheny and Wilkins were not convinced.
Councilman Wilkins does not believe the city has enough protection in this deal and councilman Matheny wants the museum to explore other funding besides taxpayer money.
This vote gives the city manager the green-light to finalize the loan agreement between the city and museum.
Museum board chair Deena Hayes-Greene says she gave a sigh of relief after the council voted.
"It's a very complicated, very layered financial arrangement and it takes a lot to understand that so I totally understand people's concern and glad there is dialogue about that," explained Deena Hayes-Greene, Chair, ICRCM Board.
Hayes-Greene says the museum is working to reach financial independence in-part through new marketing and promotion, and increasing facility rentals.The museum board is also preparing to hand over daily operations to a new director, who starts in mid-May.
As for the remaining $750,000 loan, the city manager says $350,000 will come
from the General Fund budget and $150,000 will come from proceeds of the economic development fund.The other $250,000 will have to be found in next year's budget.