The decision the city council made to end its lease with the Railway Museum at the Santa Fe Depot has created a social media outcry and has gotten many people fired up. Our Senora Scott went straight to the source and explains.
Contrary to rumors circulating around San Angelo, the railway museum has not been derailed, just put on a new set of tracks.
Lane Horwood, a board member who was recently brought on is now the interim president of the board as of late Tuesday night.
"This is not a problem with the City, it's more or less a problem with the board," Horwood said.
"This museum is kind of at a stale moment in its life right now,” Horwood said.
It's not living up to its full potential or generating the revenue it should. Those are a few of the reasons the city council voted to end its lease with the museum.
Horwood along with Shannon Carpenter, newly hired executive director of the museum, say new faces, a new life and a new outlook is what the city ultimately wanted.
Carpenter said, “On the 15th of September, the lease will expire.”
"They do not want to close the museum. They want to sign a new lease,” Carpenter said.
Horwood added, "The city genuinely wants to see the museum thrive."
The drastic vote to end the lease was more of a shock and awe factor to inspire change.
“I know that we will move forward in the right way, the Christian way and we will make this happen,” Horwood said.
Speaking of moving forward, what happens when the new staff and board members have proven themselves to the city?
"From that point they will go month to month with us or they will sign a new 20 year lease,” Carpenter said.
Statement from the City of San Angelo on Railway Museum lease:
“The City Council's vote today to reject the renewal of a lease for the historic Santa Fe Depot followed the receipt of concerning information last week about the Railway Museum of San Angelo and its leadership.
The City Council learned of that information, along with the museum's legal history, from City Attorney Theresa James during a closed session today. James reported the museum, which was incorporated by the state of Texas, has been suspended multiple times and on one occasion involuntarily dissolved for failing to file required reports with the Secretary of State. Further, the museum board is not operating in accordance with its articles of incorporation. Those documents are on file with the Secretary of State.
The City Council heard other concerns about the board and its leadership. The decision to let the lease lapse on Sept. 15 was based upon both those concerns and the museum's failure to maintain its legal sufficiency. Before entrusting an historic, City-owned building to an organization for up to 50 years, the Council must be confident the lessee is stable. The Railway Museum board, as it is currently formed, is not.
Originally, the museum was to use only a portion of the Santa Fe Depot. The rest of the facility would be used for other purposes. The museum's use of the entire facility is contrary to the plan agreed upon by the City and the museum board; that use has served neither the depot nor the community as well as it should.
If the museum board undergoes a radical and convincing remake in culture and in practice, and should a "new" organization win the City Council's confidence that it will put the historic depot to the best public use, only then will the Council consider a lease. To otherwise allow "business as usual" with a priceless public asset would be irresponsible.”