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Thu, Oct. 17

Council commits to railroad museum
$50,000 pledged to project

Members of the Williams City Council made a decision to move forward with their involvement in the proposed Arizona State Railroad Museum during their regular meeting Oct. 23. A prior decision on the matter was tabled following a special work session held Oct. 15 at Williams City Hall. City officials had been asked to contribute over $50,000 to help keep the project moving.

Council members made the decision to take money from an existing city budget, possibly from the golf course, to help fund the project rather than use new revenue to fund the museum, which council members agreed would be used in other areas should the funds become available - such as raises for city employees.

Arizona State Railroad Museum founder and CEO Al Richmond, who was present for the Oct. 23 meeting, said the $50,000 would be used to lock the project into a timeline, which includes the possibility of the museum's involvement in the state's centennial celebration.

"The centennial, at this point in time, is an incredible opportunity," Richmond told council members Oct. 23. "We've been working at this museum for 10 years (and) we have had something in front of us like this centennial, which by all appearances and all possibilities, I can't even say probabilities, because of the economy being what it is at this point in time, there's a potential for several millions of dollars right there to be brought into the community and into the project just by the centennial. The Centennial Commission, the Department of Tourism, they really want us to clear the way in 2011 so they can begin the centennial celebration with the museum. To meet that schedule we have to get under construction in the spring."

Much of the development will hang on the acquisition of funds from fundraising organizations and the approval of money from the Greater Arizona Development Authority (GADA).

Council members also approved a variance for Buffalo Pointe Inn during their regular meeting Oct. 23. Officials with Buffalo Pointe hope to extend their patio seating into the existing parking area near Route 66 and move their parking onto the street, similar to the existing diagonal parking for Route 66 in the downtown area.

Council members also tabled an inter-governmental agreement for the cities of Page, Fredonia and Williams for an Enterprise Zone citing a lack of information in regards to the zone. An enterprise zone, according to city officials, offers certain breaks, such as federal and state tax breaks, to new businesses that hope to build in the zones. Council members said they hoped to make a decision on the matter during their next regular meeting this month.

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