County contract, Marco museum exhibits look to get the ax

Article Highlights

  • County more than $1 million short of money promised, Islanders say
  • Marco Island Historical Society urges support from County Commissioners when setting the county budget
  • Money for museums decrease as Collier tourist tax money decreases
A rendering of the new Marco Island Museum. The museum will be located across the street from the Marco Island branch of the Collier County Public Library, on S. Heathwood Drive. The official groundbreaking ceremony occurred in March.

Illustration courtesy of the Marco Island Historical Society

A rendering of the new Marco Island Museum. The museum will be located across the street from the Marco Island branch of the Collier County Public Library, on S. Heathwood Drive. The official groundbreaking ceremony occurred in March.

— Opportunities for the Board of Collier County Commissioners to uphold a contract and fund the Marco Island Historical Museum, which is currently under construction, are dwindling as the county sets the 2010 budget.

Marco museum funding campaign co-chair Bill Perdichizzi said he returned from the last BCC meeting disappointed with no increase from the $80,000 currently budgeted to go toward Marco museum operations and exhibits.

Perdichizzi added that the Marco Island Historical Society was recently urged to apply for $100,000 to $250,000 in Tourist Development grants, which the MIHS must match, but there is no guarantee of getting a grant.

Further, he said, the grants are much less than the $1.5 million cost for exhibits estimated by museum officials.

“We’re not asking for money. We’re asking for them (county officials and commissioners) to honor their contract,” Perdichizzi said.

A contract was signed between the MIHS and county in May 2003 in which the county let the MIHS use the 3-acre property owned by Collier County, located on South Heathwood, in exchange for MIHS raising the money to build the museum. Then, per the contract, the county would pay to furnish the museum with exhibits.

MIHS raised about $4.5 million to build the museum and is currently looking to get no more than $180,000 in county support in 2010.

Perdichizzi said $500,000 each year for the next three years is necessary.

Collier County Commissioners are set to formally adopt the budget Tues. Sept. 29. Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala represents the Marco Island area and may be contacted via e-mail at DonnaFiala@colliergov.net.

To learn more about the Marco Island Historical Society email nfn04051@naples.net or call Bill Perdichizzi at 394-6917.

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