MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - New items on Tuesday’s Mobile City Council agenda are raising some red flags about money for the GulfQuest Museum. It is a story FOX10 News has been following for months.
FOX10 News dug for answers as to why the Museum may be getting $760,000 if approved Tuesday. FOX10 came across the agenda items on the City of Mobile’s website Monday. The Museum has been under construction for nearly five years…and millions of dollars later, it is still not complete.
That has many asking “Why?” Especially when they see another large amount of money on the table.
It is being built to showcase and educate the Gulf Coast’s most historic and cultural asset: the maritime industry and its surrounding environments.
“I have absolutely no concern that this will museum will be a a big success because we have nothing like this in the whole area. Nothing like this," said District 1 Councilman Fred Richardson.
Richardson said the museum is not being built to make itself money. It is being built to make the City money.
“It is an economic engine. We don’t intend for the Maritime Museum to make a lot of money over there. It’s an economic engine. It draws people to Mobile to come and see it. But while they’re here, they’re going to sleep in the hotels, they’re going to eat in the restaurants, they’re going to the bars, they’re going to the mall. That’s where we make our money, said Richardson.
But it is the money that is on everyone's mind. On Tuesdays city council agenda, four separate figures of $153,000, $527,000, $35,000, and $47,000 have been presented for the council's approval totaling more than $760,000.
“I can understand how people can be alarmed by the large amount of money that’s on tomorrow’s agenda. It is within the budget that was set out by the council," said District 4 Councilman John Williams.
"We allocated enough money to build the GulfQuest Museum. But there are change orders. They’re not asking us for any additional fundings. These are final change orders," said Richardson.
District 2 Councilman William Carroll is a sponsor of these items.
“I’m somewhat a little disappointed to see that. But still yet we have not gone passed the allotment that the council put in place a few months ago which was a percentage of the contract," said Carroll.
While some councilmembers support it...
"We will make our money. We will make our money. I guarantee you, they will pack them out over there. This is going to be a big hit for the City of Mobile," said Richardson.
Others simply don't...
“I have not been supportive of this project for many reasons. One is: it’s entirely too many tax dollars involved with funding the project," said Williams.
Councilman Carroll told FOX10 there will still be a remaining $25,000 in the contingency fund to be used for "mistakes and mishaps."
FOX10 News will continue to follow this story for you.
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