Kitchener Council says ‘yes’ to financial lifeline for THEMUSEUM; one-time grant approved

Your kids’ summer camp at THEMUSEUM this year isn’t going anywhere.

Kitchener City Council voted yes, to a $300,000 one-time grant to be dispersed to the downtown business over the next four months.

Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says institutions like THEMUSEUM are essential to attracting young talent to the community.

He notes there has been a major focus on housing this year at all levels of government, but building homes, isn’t the only step.

“But when we talk about building housing, we’re talking not just about building housing, we’re talking about building community, and community means building recreational facilities, arts and culture facilities, and all those other facilities that are critical — critical to seeing us being successful,” Vrbanovic said.

Most city councillors said they are in support of the financial lifeline, but also hopeful it really is just a one-time ask.

Councillor Stephanie Stretch was one of them.

“I think this is a defining moment … I would like to see THEMUSEUM to go on, and I was asked earlier ‘am I hopeful?’ Yes, I am hopeful, but we are not a bank. We can’t just continually fund this more and more and more,” she said.

Council also passed an amendment to the original motion, which will have THEMUSEUM also go to Regional Council, asking for an additional $150,000.

Speaking with CityNews 570 before the Monday night meeting, David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM, said the organization has faced a myriad of financial issues for years and is seeking this grant now due to an inherited and outdated financial model from the previous Children’s Museum.

“I think in part the financial model needs to be addressed and the name THEMUSEUM needs to be revisited in terms of a rebrand. New people to the community don’t understand the history and where we came from.”

The cash from the city comes on the condition that THEMUSEUM will limit any discretionary spending and ensure all community commitments such as summer camps and venue rentals are honoured.

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