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Museum planning clarified page 2
Museum director says U.S. National Slavery Museum will stay in Fredericksburg

Date published: 7/19/2005

continued

"They tell us they can have us ready in June of 2007," Foster said. She stressed, however, that will depend on getting all permits on time.

She also mentioned that "exhibit designers are moving very fast."

Last week was the first time the current City Council has had any museum issues to address. On July 26, the council is to hold a public hearing on the museum's request for a waiver of height restrictions. That was prompted by the plans to include a full-scale replica slave ship as the facility's centerpiece.

Four council members--Kelly, Kerry Devine, Tom Fortune and Billy Withers--have said they want an update on the project's status before taking action on the project.

A previous city council entered into an agreement with Wilder to provide $1 million for museum officials to provide infrastructure for the Celebrate Virginia tourism development. That money is being repaid through a special tax district and is already being recouped.

Yesterday, Foster said she has had a "wonderful working relationship" with Rodenberg and that she has answered any questions he has posed.

She said the council members with questions could have submitted them through Rodenberg, attended meetings she said the slavery museum held at public libraries, or visited the museum's offices in Central Park.

"We, of course, are open and have been and have worked very closely with the city manager, so I would think if those four members had concerns, they could have had the city manager call," she said.

"I'm not going to, and I don't think anyone feels that it's appropriate, to use the media to respond to concerns and that's something we're not going to do."

Asked whether the museum has been open with the community, Foster responded affirmatively.

"I think we have," she said.

She mentioned reaching out to the other Fredericksburg museums, city schools, the city manager and planning commission.

"I think we've tried to be as active and community oriented as we can possibly be," she said.

To reach PAMELA GOULD: 540/657-9101pgould@freelancestar.com


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