by TERRY KONKLE
President, Rockford Area Historical Society
On Monday, Jan. 9, at the monthly meeting of the Rockford City Council, I presented information to Council members regarding the progress made by the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) dealing with our museum relocation project. When the Council gave their consent in July 2011 to allow us the opportunity to move to the vacant courthouse, they also set up a series of objectives that they would like to be completed by certain dates. One of those was that RAHS would raise one half of their needed money at the end of six months. January 9, 2012 was the six-month date.
We originally projected a needed total of $343,000 which included $125,000 to update areas that the City wanted to be done to bring the building up to the same standards as City Hall. Over the last six months, much discussion has occurred and the money figures have been looked at with care as fundraising began. Money was pledged or donated and some businesses offered to help in certain areas of construction by contributing their services. If we stay with our $343,000 figure, half of it would be $171,500.
At the Council meeting I reported that we had $110,000 in pledges and money, but could not put a figure on the in-kind services. I emphasized that several future fundraising projects are set up and will bring in additional funds. It was also mentioned that the overall money needed would be less, but how much less was still not known. A fairly pleasant discussion followed with the major issue being money.
A major point was that fundraising was not over and many potential donors are still out there.
It was concluded that RAHS needed to do several things:
1. to firm up their money amounts;
2. to determine how much money would be saved through in-kind help;
3. to show what the inside of the new museum would look like.
To me, it was obvious that the Council was concerned that we had not raised half of our goal. HOWEVER, it was very clear that they were supportive of our efforts and some members praised what had happened thus far.
It was then decided that, because of the situation, RAHS would continue to update the Council every month so that both parties would know what was happening. I think that this is fine and would be happy to report monthly over the next six months. Readers will also be informed as to what is happening.
Since January 9, several donations have been received and a list of new donors will be included next week. If you would like to help us, donations may be sent to: Rockford Area Historical Society, PO Box 781, Rockford, MI 49341, or contact me at (616) 866-0530. We appreciate all those who have donated thus far and hope others will join our positive cause.