Letter to the editor: Councilman comments
As a member of the Helper City Council, I am writing this letter to explain to the people of Helper City, and Carbon County, my leaving the building committee for the expansion of the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper. I have held the position of chairman of the building committee for several years. I cannot discuss the reasons behind by resignation for legal reasons, but I want everyone to know that I did not leave on a whim, or without serious cause. What I can say is that this experience has been amazing.
The director, Ms. SueAnn Martell, and the wonderful staff of volunteers at the museum have helped make my job as chairman of the building committee delightful. They all taught me a great deal about museum procedures and the care of artifacts. Because of these folks, I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for our local history than I ever thought possible. The people that have lived and worked in this area from its inception until now have left us with an amazing legacy that the museum has wonderfully preserved. I will truly miss spending time there and learning about our history.
Now, to bring everyone up to date of the status of the expansion. Right now, the building committee has just over $400,000 in-hand for the expansion. There is another $275,000 in grants that requires very little work to get. Also, we have more possible funding that could fund the expansion in its entirety, without costing the residents of Helper City a single penny.
Just a side note. Most of this funding has been raised through the work of either myself and/or museum director. After all, we must give credit where credit is due.
If all goes well, construction could begin as early as April 2009. The building plans are basically completed and are merely awaiting funding to proceed with construction. With my leaving the committee, the torch is now passed to Councilman Kirk Mascaro, of the Helper City council, to continue the work toward this expansion as he is the councilman appointed by the mayor to the museum.
I also have a great deal of gratitude to those on the building committee for their help thus far with this project. They have been extremely helpful to me as they helped to layout the design of the new expansion, and to make important decisions throughout this process. This group of concerned individuals deserves a great deal of credit as well. It has been a tough road to get where we are today, and their devotion and determination has been an inspiration to me.
At this point, I am sure that many people are wondering why I am leaving at such a critical time. All of the funding is nearly in place, the plans are all but ready to go, and construction should be able to start within a matter of a few months. Well, it was a very difficult decision, and one that I did not take lightly. I truly wish that I could explain my reasons, because I do believe that everyone has the right to know what has happened that is causing me to take this course of action. Let's suffice it to say that, in my opinion, a situation beyond my control has arisen and I am no longer comfortable working on this project.
I do encourage all the citizens of Helper, Carbon County, and eastern Utah to watch for the coming expansion of the museum. Please let all of the city councilmembers know what you think of the museum itself. Personally I believe that it is currently one of the best resources that Helper City has to offer.