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Monday, November 24, 2008

Danforth Withdraws Museum Plan? (Updated)


The rumor of complete withdrawal was premature, and Edde Roth has the Danforth Foundation version:

The foundation did write a letter to the Interior Department saying that the stock market drop would make it difficult to fund such a project at the $50 million it had pledged, according to the spokesman, but the Foundation “remains as interested in ever in the museum concept” and “if and when the (National Park Service) comes back with a proposal that the Foundation can support, the Foundation will support it at the level its finances will permit.”

This is an inversion of Danforth's original call for a museum, and is exactly where the parties need to be. Danforth has sparked a public debate, and now the government entity responsible for the Memorial has responded with an official planning process. Danforth is no longer the voice in the wild, but part of an emerging coalition of stakeholders with different visions for the Memorial. At this stage, the National Park Service should lead to ensure that private visions are mediated through a public process. Danforth and others can take or leave the end result which, as with all things meted out through democratic process, will be a compromise of visions within the legal limits set forth by our government. I think that the Danforth Foundation should be commended for its proper response to the National Park Service draft management plan. This is a graceful step that will enable the draft management plan to be released and reviewed without unnecessary controversy.


Late last week, John Danforth sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne stating that the Danforth Foundation no longer intends to build a museum on the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. According to Danforth, his foundation's financial health has weakened in the current economic downturn.


Jason M. Stokes said...

One positive effect of the crappy economy.

Anonymous said...

Where'd you get a juicy tidbit like that?

Anonymous said...

If it means they're no longer trying to hijack the Arch planning process, that's probably a good thing. I am sorry to see that money not go into the local economy, but it sounds like they were going to play it their-way-or-the-highway anyway.

Chris said...

Good, I'm tired of St. Louis's aristocracy trying to "save" the lowly proletariat of the city. "Oh, if we'd just listen to rich people, our city would be wonderful."

Having worked in museums close to ten years now, no one in my field would ever claim that a museum on the Arch grounds would solve any of the issues being addressed. Museums are the product of a strong cultural scene, not the cause.

Anonymous said...

Post Dispatch says the deal is still on.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder how the Arch got built in the first place without the danforths. Without patricians, slouisans would be left to flounder, I suppose. Perhaps they can persuade their peers in the baseball business to "develop", or at least tidy up, that TRUE "disgrace" north of the baseball stadium. Now that IS a "mess".

Anonymous said...

Would the danforths settle for putting 18 holes in there with a few sand traps. OK, OK, and a clubhouse [but, mind you, underground].