12/06/11 — Committee proposed to weigh Air Force museum

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Committee proposed to weigh Air Force museum

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 6, 2011 1:46 PM

News-Argus file photo

A committee is being formed to develop a plan for the former arts council building's transition into a museum.

An unscheduled work session item that was added to the Goldsboro City Council agenda Monday morning involved a presentation of potential members of an Air Force museum exploratory committee to decide how best to transition the city's newly acquired property on East Ash Street from a bank building turned arts center into a facility honoring the history of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan addressed the council first thing during the work session, even before the members took a break to eat their provided dinner.

Jimmie Edmundson, Ms. Logan said, is willing to serve as chairman of the committee, should the council call him to do so. Senior vice president of BB&T and a member of the Military Affairs Committee for about 24 years, Edmundson said he is interested in the project because of the remarkable history of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"Given the history of Seymour Johnson, both the 4th Fighter Wing and the 916th, and the prestige it has -- this would be a great place for an Air Force museum," he said.

Ms. Logan said this exploratory committee differs from the one formed just less than a year ago in that the previous group was composed solely of city staff members. This group, made up entirely of citizens, would also have a different charge: choosing a consultant for the museum based on proposals received in January 2012.

Ms. Logan presented a list of a dozen potential members of the committee, all with different tie-ins that would make them valuable members of the group, as some had military connections while others were involved with education -- a component that council members had said they wanted to be a major part of the museum.

Those suggested for the committee included Air Force retirees Ray Burrell, Lou Cooke and James McCullough, Pete Coffman and Stoney Sloan as well as Tracy Ivey, Martha Bryan and Ed Wilson, all with academic backgrounds. Kyle Pritchard, of Comfort Suites, was another suggestion, as well as an educator at Mount Olive College who was not ready to give his name yet.

The schedule Ms. Logan outlined would call for the committee to be appointed at the council's next meeting on Dec. 19 and for a request for proposals to be announced Jan. 3, 2012. Proposals would be due Jan. 24 and the selection process would end with the council awarding the proposal to a consultant Feb. 20.

The council work session went into closed session to discuss litigation and property acquisition for 45 minutes before the regular meeting in the council chambers. Council met in closed session for 30 minutes during its previous meeting on Nov. 21 to discuss litigation, although Monday Public Works Director Neil Bartlett and Finance Director Kaye Scott shuffled in and out of the closed session.

During regular session, Becky Minchew, leader of IMPACT, gave a presentation on the plight of children in housing projects and her organization's commitment to help them through providing supplies and food for their families as well as their request for a building to act as a storage area for those supplies.

The only business on the council's agenda outside of minutes -- the consent agenda -- was approved through a motion by Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Allen and seconded by District 1 Councilman Michael Headen.