By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
The proverbial clock is ticking as San Benito officials race to spend $1.2 million in funds from a Certificate of Obligation nearly a decade old, in an effort to establish what will henceforth be known as the Cultural Heritage Museum of San Benito.
City Manager Manuel Lara said of the museum project, “We are pressed for time, and we want this process done.”
At one point, City of San Benito officials hoped that the $1.2 million would go toward constructing the museum at what is now known as the Resaca Walk property, located at Business 77 and the resaca. Contritely, language in the CO stipulates the funds can only be used at Plaza San Benito, located on 220. E. Stenger St.
“We finally have agreed with our architect on everything,” said Lara, “and it has been reviewed by legal. We’re presenting to the (San Benito City) Commission on Tuesday. If we get a signed contract, we can move forward on getting a design.”
San Benito’s privately operated museums – the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Freddy Fender Museum and the San Benito History Museum, along with the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center – will be housed in the new facility which will reportedly host music festivals, art exhibits, educational ventures and other ceremonies.
“We want architects to meet with the museums, in order to understand their needs,” Lara said. “Final approval is the Commission’s because this is a city facility. We’re going to have timelines.”
“It will be built … as soon as the architect’s design comes through,” said San Benito Mayor Celeste Z. Sanchez. “We gave the (architects) three to four months to get their meetings and designs … and meet for approval.”
“It’s going to take time,” Lara said. “We still need surveys … deeds … documents. As much as we would like to, it’s going to take a while … but at least it’s moving.” He added that officials have maintained “good dialogue with the museums and architect.”
A contract with the architect was a discussion item at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the commission. If the grant money is not utilized by Sept. 2016, funds must be returned.
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