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Council seeking museum data page 6
Fredericksburg City Council seeks details about U.S. National Slavery Museum before granting more financial incentives

Date published: 7/10/2005

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"Those folks that are closely involved keep me updated," Turner said. "Some things they share with me and say they want me to hold it until they do a press release."

A call for openness

Turner pointed out that he's been working with the project longer than some of his colleagues and has always supported it.

"I've been supportive from the initial stages and I've made it a point to make inquiries and see what's going on," he said. "If the City Council or city manager or other staff feel they need more information, I think they should talk to those who can get them answers as I have."

Turner, Fortune, Kelly and Withers were elected in May 2002. Mayor Tom Tomzak, Devine and Girvan were elected in May 2004.

Most of Turner's colleagues see museum officials bearing the responsibility for bringing information forward to them.

"I would have hoped that we would have had more information on the progress," Withers said. "The city did lend out a million dollars."

Kelly noted that officials with the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center provided their figures on expenses and fundraising as part of the process of requesting $500,000 from the city. He said he expects the slavery museum to do likewise when the waiver request comes up for consideration.

"It's just baffling on why they aren't being more open about where they are and where they're going," Kelly said.

"This is potentially a very good project and I'm just surprised they're keeping things as close to the vest as they are," he said.

Like Turner, Tomzak said he has called museum officials for information and said they have called him, as well.

He said the last time he called was when he learned of the delay in the museum's opening date.

"I was concerned about it," said Tomzak, a strong supporter of the museum. "I wanted to see what caused it and to make sure the project was still going forward."

He said Foster assured him that it was going forward and that the delay was mostly for "technical reasons" with the building.

Tomzak said he wanted information about fundraising.

"I guess I'm making assumptions that fundraising is going forward," he said. "She assured me it is but I don't have any exact amount."


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