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BIG ARTS, Historical Museum leases discussed

By Staff | Jun 14, 2017

Initial negotiations regarding the contracts of BIG ARTS and lease of the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village were discussed during last week’s City Council meeting.

Vice Mayor Mick Denham provided an update of the meetings he has had with BIG ARTS in terms of the renewal of their contract. He said there was only one issue in the negotiations that brought forth some concerns, having a liquor license as part of their lease.

“I felt that I personally didn’t support that,” Denham said because it was on city property. “Rather than put that in the lease at this time, I would suggest that we bring it back with the supporting documentation from BIG ARTS and we review that and have a discussion at our next City Council meeting to see whether there is a consensus from the council.”

He further asked the city manager to forward the letter from BIG ARTS requesting a liquor license to all City Council members.

Denham said he would like to bring the lease back to the City Council at the August meeting for approval.

Councilman Chauncey Goss provided an update regarding the status of contract negotiations with the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village.

He said he began talking with the museum board, and attended their meeting in May.

“It’s an interesting relationship we have. Something I didn’t fully understand. Just to refresh everyone’s memory, we do own the property and the buildings and the museum basically manages it,” Goss said. “We give the museum some financial support to do that.”

The contract expires in September.

Sanibel resident Karen Storjohann said she thinks it’s interesting that the city owns the land, buildings and its content.

“The content is what’s really, besides the historic buildings, is carrying our history. It’s extremely fascinating to the people that come in,” she said.

Goss also brought to the council’s attention, a proposal the museum has for fixing up the Packing House. He said the proposal would be adding 20 feet onto the building.

“The building really doesn’t change. The house just gets bigger and looks exactly the same,” Goss said, adding that the building is not historical.

The proposal has gone before the Preservation Committee and will go before the Planning Committee.

Storjohann said the Packing House is used to store many of the pieces that are displayed, or displayed on a rotation basis. She said it’s important that the building is refurbished, so it can properly store items that would do better in an air-conditioned building.

Goss said he hopes to have the negotiations wrapped up by the August, or September meeting.