Museum budgets approved

Five months after Routt County voters approved the Museum and Heritage Fund tax, a granting process and the 2004 budgets from museums and historic organizations have been approved.

Pete Wither, chairman of the Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board, gave Routt County commissioners an update Tuesday. Commissioners praised the fund advisory board's speed and efficiency.

"It looks great," Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said about a document outlining the granting process. "It's exactly what I had looked for in the direction of the granting."

Since the election, the fund advisory board has met regularly to create an application process for awarding grants from a capacity-building fund that receives one-tenth of the $210,000 the mill levy collects.

"We want to get that up and running as soon as possible," Wither said. "If there are some projects this summer that can be accomplished, we'd like to go ahead and get that going."

Applications must be submitted by April 1 or by Oct. 1, depending on the granting cycle, and the fund advisory board will make recommendations to Routt County commissioners 30 days later. The deadline for the first cycle is June 1, to give organizations a chance to apply, Wither said.

The granting process differentiates between project grants, which are for museums and historic organizations, and mini-grants, which are for $500 or less for schools and nonprofit groups that help preserve and educate people about history.

Grants will require a one-to-one match of local funds, donated goods or services, or in-kind matches.

Grants will be judged on each applicant's ability to successfully complete the project, the project's relationship to historic preservation, the project's timing and urgency, community support and leveraged funds, and the project's public benefit.

County commissioners questioned why the application document allows other entities and individuals to apply for grants for historic preservation projects.

"Since we don't have a lot of money to give out, why did you guys feel that was necessary?" Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak asked.

Wither said the goal was to not shut anyone out of the application process, and added that the historic organizations and museums would remain the sponsoring agencies and would supervise all grants received.

In addition to approving the grant application process, Routt County commissioners approved budgets submitted by the Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg, which will receive $14,300 toward its $50,000 budget from the tax; the Hahn's Peak Historical Society, which will receive $7,750 toward its $9,700 budget from the tax; the Hayden Heritage Center, which will receive $18,000 toward its $28,500 budget; the Yampa Museum and Historical Society, which will receive $3,700 toward its $5,800 budget from the tax; the Tread of Pioneers Museum, which will receive $118,000 toward its $230,000 budget from the tax; and Historic Routt County, which will receive $21,000 toward its $47,500 budget from the tax.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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