Board of Commissioners to vote on $200,000 for Civil Rights Museum

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is planning a massive expansion that will take over the entire block of downtown Greensboro where the museum is located — and expansions like this don’t come cheap.

In fact, they cost millions and millions of dollars. And, on Thursday, July 14, at the only scheduled July meeting of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the council is due to vote on whether to start helping pay for the effort.

The result of the controversial decision to donate the museum. $200,000 in taxpayer money isn’t hard to come by: Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Skip Alston, who was one of the museum’s founders, leads a majority of fellow Democrats. Additionally, in March, at the annual board retreat at the Bur-Mil Park Clubhouse, the commissioners held a vote that set the wheels in motion for the board to begin donating money to the museum.

Over time, the museum’s funders hope for a total of at least $2 million from Guilford County.

The South Elm Street Civil Rights Museum purchases the building next door, expands its offerings and programs, and applies to become a World Heritage Site – an exclusive historic designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Humanitarian Organization. culture (UNESCO). That honor has only been bestowed on two dozen other sites in the United States, including Grand Canyon National Park, the Statue of Liberty and Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

The Civil Rights Museum project is estimated at roughly $25-30 million and the museum is seeking funding this year and in future years from the county, the city of Greensboro, the state of North Carolina North, private donors and community improvement organizations.

Alston, since he is so closely connected to the museum, did not participate in the Board of Commissioners’ discussion or vote in March and is likely not to vote on Thursday evening either. A memo from county staff attached to the motion states, “When a board of directors is considering a contract with a nonprofit agency, including the allocation of any funding, board members involved with that nonprofit organization not-for-profit must recuse themselves from any deliberation and register their recusation with the clerk of the council.

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