Museum asks county for more funds

April 19, 2006|by TARA REILLY


Representatives of Discovery Station at Hagerstown again on Tuesday asked the Washington County Commissioners for financial help.

B. Marie Byers, board president of the downtown interactive museum, and Treasurer John Davidson asked for $30,000 to help with operational costs this fiscal year and $30,000 for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The County Commissioners voted 3-2 to give Discovery Station $20,000 for the current fiscal year and said they would discuss whether to contribute for the coming fiscal year.

Byers asked the commissioners in November for money, but they took no action at the time.

The science, technology and history museum opened in May.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook, and Commissioners James F. Kercheval and Doris J. Nipps supported the contribution.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell and Commissioner John C. Munson voted against it.

Munson said he hasn't had anyone approach him saying he or she supports a county contribution to Discovery Station.


Byers said she would suggest that supporters contact Munson.

Wivell said he didn't agree with the size of the contribution.

Nipps said she thought Discovery Station was a good project and supported the allocation so the center could continue to operate.

Discovery Station's 2005 annual report states revenue from admissions wasn't enough to pay for operating costs.

"As with all museums, admissions alone never completely cover operating costs of such an endeavor," the report states.

The center's draft budget for 2006 anticipates $37,150 in revenue from admissions, gift shop sales, memberships, parties and vending machines, but is relying on $305,000 in contributions from public and private sources.

Snook asked Discovery Station for a long-range plan that shows how the center would lessen its dependency on government funding.

The City of Hagerstown gave Discovery Station $10,000 for the current year, according to the city's budget. The city's proposed contribution next year is $30,000.

From May through December, 2,515 people visited the center, according to the annual report. It's had 1,600 more visitors since that time, Byers said. Most of the visitors were from the area, but Discovery Station also logged visitors from 16 states and four countries, she said.

Discovery Station, at 101 W. Washington St., also houses the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

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