Fort Collins council bails out museum and discovery center

The new Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center is back on track following a nearly $3.9 million infusion by the Fort Collins City Council.

The council in July upped its previous pledge to assure that the facility would open on schedule next year.

A cash-flow crisis threatened to stop construction on the $25 million facility rising along the Poudre River at the intersection of Cherry Street and College Avenue.

The Downtown Development Authority was unable to deliver on a $3 million pledge to the project. The private museum non-profit corporation has so far raised about $4.6 million, but $875,000 of that is in the form of pledges to be paid through 2014 and not now available.
The council came to the rescue after sponsors asked for help.

The council had allocated $2.375 million to avoid a costly shutdown and keep work progressing. Of that amount, $1.5 million would come from general fund reserves and $875,000 as a loan to the corporation from water-fund reserves.

But the council at that time withheld action on a request for an additional $1.5 million to assure completion of exhibits when the facility opens.

“I want to deal with the construction money first,” councilman Gerry Horak said in a later interview. While he was supportive of the project, Horak said he preferred dipping into other reserves rather than diverting more money from the city general fund reserve.

At Horak’s suggestion, the council on July 19 approved the remainder of the request. The money will come from reserves in the Building Community Choices sales tax issue approved by voters in 1997 to fund capital improvements.

Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate