01/08/13 — Air Force museum: Up for sale?

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Air Force museum: Up for sale?

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on January 8, 2013 1:46 PM

News-Argus file photo

The proposed site of the Air Force museum is shown. Council members are now discussing whether to move forward with the project.

In the first indication of the city's intentions with its proposed Air Force Museum building, District 5 Councilman Chuck Allen asked Monday night that the Goldsboro City Council begin making preparations to put the property on the market.

Speaking at the end of the City Council meeting, Allen said he felt the "sticker shock" from the consultant's estimated costs to transform the former bank building at the corner of Spence Avenue and Ash Street into an Air Force museum had proven to be too much for the city to handle.

"I honestly think the reality is we don't know how to fund it," he said. "I don't see any way we can fund it."

Between asbestos abatement, renovation and repairs to the building, museum construction work, exhibits and fundraising counsel, the city would need about $7 million to get the doors open, plus $335,000 annually to fill operations budget shortfall.

Allen said the council hadn't talked about the building at all since the Nov. 19 meeting when the city's hired consultant team made its final presentation.

He said that he would like to proceed with putting the building on the market, a move that was floated by council members shortly after they approved the purchase of the building from the Arts Council of Wayne County for $500,000 in summer 2011.

Unless someone comes forward with a check to do the work required, he said, he would like the council to begin shopping the building out within 30 to 60 days.

"There's no point in having that property if we're not going to do anything with it," he said.

His call for action came three days shy of a year after the first meeting of the council-created Air Force Museum Citizen's Committee, which helped to hire the city's consultant and acted as a steering committee for the project through November.

The council is tentatively scheduled to discuss the project at its mid-February retreat.