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Pioneer museum or party space? River Heights must decide

September 28th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lindsay Nemelka

RIVER HEIGHTS — City Council members debated Tuesday whether to continue to rent out the Annette Smith Historical Museum or dedicate the entire room to the pioneer artifacts and antiques.

The room below the City Office Building is currently open to residents and affiliations to rent for family parties, recitals or meetings, but this may change if the council decides displaying River Height’s historical artifacts are more important. Right now, only a fraction of the artifacts donated to the museum are on display. The larger items, such as a giant saw blade, are tucked away in storage.

Last year the museum earned $350 in rental revenue, which is not a lot, “but any little bit helps,” said Councilwoman Kathryn Hadfield. She likes that the city has a place the residents can use, but wonders how many or how often people would come into the small museum if they expanded it. “That’s quite a lot of space in there and we’re not sure how much it would be used as a museum,” Hadfield said.

Councilwoman Francine Davis said that people will care more about artifacts they can touch, instead of having them behind glass. Councilman Blake Wright agreed but said they should save larger items for special occasions, such as the pavilion of museum artifacts set up during Apple Days.

“If you put it out less often it becomes more novel,” Wright said.

Hadfield wants multiple uses for the room, but believes that continuing to show the artifacts would benefit the community. “It’s a cross-generational thing” she said. “That sense of community is really important and helps people want to take care of where they live.”

The council also discussed Apple Days 2011’s finances. Apple Days Chairman Richard Okelberry reported that the festival was a big success this year, coming in at $537 under budget. Okelberry attributes this success to the 119 volunteers that helped out, including Boy Scouts Tim Rasmussen and Jared Lehnig who organized several events for their Eagle projects.

Okelberry wishes to focus more on nonprofit organizations and less on vendors next year, as he felt many booths did not draw a crowd. Vendors who sold snacks like cotton candy were popular, but others were not so successful. Okelberry remarked that people don’t normally come to Apple Days to buy stuff. “We’re not running a mall over here, there’s no reason to make space for it if people don’t want it.”

Okelberry wants to have a bigger turnout for the patriotic program next year by possibly adding bagpipes and an Air Force fly-over. Future possibilities also include a family kickball tournament for adults and kids combined.

In other business, the council:

· Compared bids to put a double hand rail in front of City Hall for better handicap access.

· Resolved to adopt the Public Body Rules of Procedure (5-2011) in accordance with the Utah League of City and Towns.


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