Friday, July 1, 2011
GEORGETOWN SC — The Kaminski House Museum has been given a year by Georgetown City Council to become more profitable or the more than $200,000 it gets from taxpayers could be cut.
If the plans to make the historic landmark more self dependent is not successful, the County Chamber of Commerce says it can manage the Front Street attraction.
The proposal by the Chamber was made last week during talks with City Council and staff about the organization’s plans to market the city if chosen to do so.
In May, Council agreed to once again allocate $215,000 from the city’s Hospitality funds to keep the museum open until at least July 2012.
Councilman Paige Sawyer opposed the plan and, as a result, he voted against passage of the 2011-12 budget last week.
Under the proposal, the Chamber would relocate its office to the Stewart Parker House, located next to the Kaminski House, for $1 per year.
The Chamber’s Visitor Center would move into the building now used for the Kaminski House Gift Shop.
The management of the Kaminski House would become a duty of the Chamber.
Mayor Jack Scoville says he feels the Friends of the Kaminski House will be successful in making the museum more self sufficient and a takeover by the Chamber would not be needed.
Other options considered
However, if the plan to become more profitable does not succeed, Scoville said other options — including the Chamber’s proposal — would be considered.
“I won’t say anything is off the table long term,” Scoville said.
Another thing that could prevent the plan from ever taking place is the fact the Stewart Parker House has been owned by the Colonial Dames of South Carolina since 2006. According to Scoville, that organization is not in favor of making the building the new Chamber home.
Chamber President Annette Fisher said Tuesday the Stewart Parker House proposal is just one part of a plan aimed at collaborating with the city.
She said the plan was drafted in the winter when the Kaminski House was having financial problems and there was talk by city council of possibly shutting it down.
Fisher made the proposal last week when talking about ways the Chamber could help promote the City of Georgetown.
The proposition presented to city leaders was for the $11,000 the Chamber already gets each year from Hospitality taxes; $30,000 from the Hospitality fund for marketing; and $40,000 which would be used in development efforts including Front Street business recruiting.
The plan would be done with an understanding between the City and Chamber that it would have an annual auto renewal for three years with a yearly three-percent increase on the fees paid to the Chamber.
In the 2011-12 budget, the city has allocated $30,000 for marketing but has not decided who will be hired to do the job.
By Scott Harper