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Museum garners city help

The City Commission agrees to give $10,000 to the financially strapped Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History.

By DEBORAH O'NEIL

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2000


SAFETY HARBOR -- City Commissioners injected $10,000 into the foundering budget of the Safety Harbor Museum of Regional History Monday night.

The dollars will help see the museum through a $20,000 cash shortfall between now and the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Two weeks ago, museum officials appeared before the commission asking for help, but they were not specific about what they needed.

Commissioners decided Monday night to give them $2,500 per month for four months starting in June.

"It's still bare bones," said Mayor Pam Corbino.

Commissioner Rollin Yanchar described the measure as a Band-Aid.

Susan Goldstein, president of the museum board of trustees, said it was important that the museum receive the city's support. The museum at 329 Bayshore Blvd. S is the repository of city history.

"That's what I was striving for, a partnership with the city to maintain and preserve the city's history," Goldstein said. "Because it's a small town, they understand how hard we've been working. I think they want to support our efforts."

The museum has stumbled through financial hardship this year for a variety of reasons. The biggest is that the museum no longer sells Ty Beanie Babies, an enterprise that generated $20,000 a year for the museum. In November, Ty unexpectedly dropped the museum as a Beanie Baby distributor.

In recent weeks as its financial hardships became known, the museum has taken in about $4,000 in donations, said Betty Quibell, the museum's administrator.

Goldstein said the museum will work to collect the rest of the money it needs from donations and memberships. Clearwater resident Donald Ball, a former Boy Scouts of America fundraiser, has volunteered to raise funds for the organization.

"We still need to have that money," Goldstein said. "We still want the community to support us."

Saturday, the museum will hold its old-fashioned fish fry, one of its annual fundraisers, from 4 p.m. to dusk at the museum.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Hot dogs and pizza will be served for children. There will be children's games, entertainment and a cake to celebrate the museum's 30th birthday.

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