County museum needs plan to build at new site

11/21/2013 11:52 AM

11/21/2013 11:53 AM

The future of the Johnson County Museum is up in the air. Supporters don’t know where their future home might be or how they could finance such a venture.

Place some of the blame for this situation on the County Commission.

Last year the commission bought the former King Louie bowling alley on Metcalf Avenue, which prompted discussion about placing the museum there. That proposal made good sense, given the deteriorating condition of the current museum’s site in Shawnee and the possibility of moving to a high-visibility location in Overland Park.

But those plans recently and suddenly went kaput. The commission decided it was not going to issue more than $10 million in bonds to remodel the bowling alley as a site for the museum and other county offices.

Museum director Mindi Love said, “We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board figuring out a location for the museum. I would have loved for it to have been at King Louie.”

With public dollars scarce these days, the museum may have to rely on private funders to ride to the rescue. And before going out for big-dollar contributions, museum officials will want to be able to tell everyone where a new and better facility would go as well as how much it would cost.

At least one commissioner this month said it was still possible for the museum to wind up at the King Louie site after another year’s worth of study and fundraising.

Yet don’t count on a change of heart by the County Commission. Museum backers should find the best location to build their attraction, then determine how they can raise the money needed to make that dream come true.

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