I read with interest Amanda Frink's report of the Ilwaco City Council meeting and the disposition of Lodging Tax Funds. In the budget break down it was reported that the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum will receive $11,500. I feel this needs some clarification. The museum has been allocated $6,000 in Lodging Tax Funds to promote tourism. This represents the same amount that the museum has received for the past five years. The remaining $5,500 will not come to the museum but will be used by the City of Ilwaco to pay the insurance on their Lake Street building as they have since its acquisition in 1982.
We are pleased to partner with the City of Ilwaco to continue our mission of preserving and interpreting our regional heritage. The city and the museum have successfully negotiated a new 50-year lease that meets all state and local requirements and will go before the Ilwaco City Council by the end of the year. The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum's relationship with the City is a winning public/private partnership. In return for a nominal annual fee, over the past 26 years, the museum has raised and invested over $1 million dollars in improvements and maintenance for the building complex on Lake Street. Those who remember the old Telephone Utility Building or have not been to the museum recently are consistently surprised by the renovations, to the lobby, galleries and meeting rooms that serve both Ilwaco and the entire region.
The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum operates on a budget that is consistently lower that any museum of its size and impact. This would not be possible without partnerships such as we have with the City of Ilwaco, Pacific County and most importantly our community of members and donors. We have made cuts to stay on budget and we have become more creative with our fund raising. But, as all not-for-profit organizations know, it is a constant struggle to pay bills, fix leaking roofs, broken air handlers, etc. However, with our part time staff and a dedicated cadre of volunteers the museum is able to produce quality exhibitions, programs and events while professionally caring for over 25,000 objects, photographs and documents, providing access to researchers and scholars, and attracting over 13,000 visitors this past year!
We are looking forward to welcoming even more visitors in 2011 and we are working hard to make that happen.
Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum