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Council under criticism Slavery Museum issues stir ruckus page 2
Residents blast City Council members Devine and Kelly for questioning U.S. National Slavery Museum expenses

Date published: 12/14/2005


Kelly said it's important for the city to have those studies so it can plan for the traffic the museum will bring, and so it can integrate the museum's tourism studies with its own marketing efforts.

"All we're asking the Slavery Museum to do is partner with the city," he said. "These are studies that are important to us. That's one of the reasons we contracted to have this done."

He asked if the council should take a vote on whether to formally request the studies, but Mayor Tom Tomzak indicated that he and Rodenberg are working to meet with museum officials to talk about them.

Councilwoman Debby Girvan, however, said she didn't think the agreement stipulates that the museum has to provide the studies.

"If the council wants to request this information, that's fine. They're not entitled to demand it," she said.

Girvan also suggested that making some of those studies public could hurt the city's "competitive edge" in competing for business with surrounding localities.

The Free Lance-Star has filed a request for the studies with the city under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, claiming that they are public records.

Councilman Hashmel Turner said that once he got a copy of the report, he didn't have any questions about how the money was spent.

"We need to let the community just let it ride on," he said.

In other business last night, the council appointed city residents Donna Chasen, Owen Lindauer, Kenny Johnson and Robin Haymes to fill four vacant seats on the Architectural Review Board.

The council also approved the plan for the final phase of the 785-home Idlewild subdivision.

To reach EMILY BATTLE:540/374-5413
Email: ebattle@freelancestar.com

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