By Tim Leeds
New donations have already come to the H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Memorial Museum Foundation, but the foundation is still a long way from the $15,000 it needs to make a lease payment.
Gary Wilson, vice president of the foundation executive board, said people started dropping off donations Tuesday, the day an article and a letter from board member Elaine Morse detailing the foundation's need for money were in the Daily News.
There will be an information table, with a place to drop off contributions, at the Holiday Village Shopping Center Saturday, he added.
Anna Brumley said she, Wilson, and Elaine Morse will be at the table, set up across from The Family Scoop at the Village, to give information and answer questions, he explained. She said they have been providing these information sessions every month for six months or more and the response from the public has been good. She said they will have homemade cookies and candy to give away, as well as information, and will have drawings at 2 p.m. for a children's toy and gift certificates to Uncle Joe's Restaurant and Creative Leisure.
The foundation entered a lease agreement with the city of Havre in 1996 with an effective date of Aug. 30 each year. It agreed to lease the building for $1,000 a year, making additional payments of $5,000 on the first anniversary of the effective date, $5,000 on the second anniversary, $10,000 on the third and $15,000 on the fourth and fifth anniversaries, after which the additional payments end. The lease can be renewed for $2,000 each year after that.
The city of Havre uses the additional lease payments to make payments to the U.S. Postal Service to purchase the old post office, which the foundation uses to house the H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Museum. It also rents out space in the building, including offices, a photography workshop area and a dance studio and classroom.
Lynda Taplin, secretary of the executive board, said this week that the foundation had no money to pay the lease. The foundation needs the public's support to make the final payment, she added.
Taplin said today that donations made this week have not been added up yet, but the organization will probably have a pretty good idea how much has been collected by Monday.
Brumley said the foundation needs public support even after the $15,000 is raised. The foundation rents office and studio space out in the building, but is not making enough to pay all of the bills, she added.
The foundation has some long-term renters right now, Taplin explained, but there are still many spaces to fill. She said the number of renters in the building is pretty fluid.
Taplin said they should be able to fill the spaces. Since the foundation is non-profit, she explained, it can charge rent at reasonable rates and the utilities are paid by the foundation.
"It's just a matter of finding someone that really likes that atmosphere."