A compromise was reached on Monday, September 27, between Seattle City Council and MOHAI that would restructure the money that flows from the State to the City and MOHAI. $8.5 M would go to the City in 2011 and 2012 to help with the budget. MOHAI would begin its project (as planned) transforming the landmark Naval Reserve Armory Building to its new home. The $8.5 M is not a loan from MOHAI but it’s money the museum does not yet need for its project. The assumption is the State will come through with the rest of the mitigation money from the land sale proceeds (due to displacement of MOHAI from its current home) and the City would use that money to “pay back” the $8.5 M. This plan essentially moves the funds around.
City Council voted 8-0 to pass Council Bill 116955 relating to the redevelopment of the Armory building in Lake Union Park, amending the agreement with between the City and MOHAI. Everyone seemed pretty relieved and happy about this outcome and the audience gave a standing ovation to City Council. Many members of the public testified in support, as well as against the agreement.
Councilmember Nick Licata was instrumental in proposing a solution. Under his leadership and that of Parks and Seattle Center Committee Chair Sally Bagshaw, MOHAI and the City explored how to help meet budget needs and have MOHAI move to the Armory. All Councilmembers spoke eloquently on the issue. All made a point of recognizing MOHAI and the value it brings to our community.
Councilmember Licata writes about the deal on his blog. Read City Council’s press release issued yesterday. And here’s Mayor McGinn’s interesting news release and his views on the Council’s vote.