Kansas City Museum one step closer to foundation oversight

Corinthian Hall at 3218 Gladstone Boulevard is home to the Kansas City Museum. File Photo

The Kansas City Museum continues the journey toward foundation management as the Kansas City, Mo., City Council approved an agreement with the Kansas City Museum Foundation (KCMF) to manage, operate and maintain the Kansas City Museum on April 15.

“I’m delighted for City Council’s approval and grateful for their support as the Kansas City Museum Foundation takes on this new, expanded role at such a critical time for the Museum,” said Anna Marie Tutera, the Museum’s Executive Director. “It’s a significant responsibility and the Foundation is ready and fully capable to lead the Museum into a new era.”

The ordinance authorizes the Director of Finance to establish an appropriation equal to 90% of the ending fund balance of the Museum Fund which is currently estimated to be $1,069,957.80 from the Unappropriated Fund Balance of the Museum Fund.

Council members Kevin O’Neill, Heather Hall, Teresa Loar, Dan Fowler, Katheryn Shields, Eric Bunch, Lee Barnes Jr., Ryana Parks-Shaw, Andrea Bough, Kevin McManus, and Mayor Quinton Lucas voted in favor. Councilman Brandon Ellington voted against the resolution, and Councilwoman Melissa Robinson was absent.

The Parks Board has a tradition of partnering with local and not-for-profit organizations and foundations to support, operate, and manage City-owned assets such as Liberty Memorial and the Kansas City Zoo, the ordinance read.

Since the 2016 adopted Strategic and Business Plans for the Museum, the KCMF has been working toward becoming the governing body of the Museum empowered to fully manage and operate the Museum through an Agreement with the Parks Department.

The Parks Board and the KCMF recognize the significance of the Museum to Kansas City and have identified a mutually beneficial plan to create a public-private partnership with KCMF to support the governance, management, operations, maintenance, renovations, and sustainability of the Museum.

The City in Fiscal Year 2018 issued $8 million in general obligation bonds (GO bonds) for the renovation of Corinthian Hall and construction began in November, 2017. The KCMF has raised over $5 million in private funds toward the extensive renovation of the Kansas City Museum and has been instrumental in the planning and construction of these improvements in a partnership with the Parks Board, the ordinance read.

The renovated Corinthian Hall in Northeast Kansas City, home of the Kansas City Museum, is slated to reopen to the public in September, 2021.

On March 9, 2021, the City, acting through the Parks Board, passed a Parks Board Resolution approving an agreement with the Kansas City Museum Foundation for the management, operation, and maintenance of the Kansas City Museum to be effective May 1, 2021.

The City receives annual tax revenue from the Museum property tax levy dedicated only to the Museum and to be used exclusively for the  construction, operation, and improvement of the Kansas City Museum facilities. Under the agreement, the City would annually transfer the revenue collected from the Museum property tax levy to the KCMF – less deductions for debt service, insurance, collection fees, and other administrative charges – for the operational expenses.

According to the ordinance, through the agreement, the City will not provide any other financial assistance or staff to the KCMF other than City-approved future capital improvements.

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