City Council approves $1M loan to Museum of Redlands

Part of the final push to finish construction this year

City Council approves $1M loan to Museum of Redlands
Construction on the Museum of Redlands began in 2021 and is expected to wrap up in 2024 with the help of a $1M loan from the city of Redlands. (Photo: Community Forward Redlands 2024)

REDLANDS, Calif. – The Museum of Redlands (MOR) is one step closer to completion after receiving a loan from the city of Redlands.

On Tuesday, March 5, the Redlands City Council gave unanimous approval for a $1 million loan to the Redlands Historical Museum Association (RHMA) to finish building the MOR.

Why it matters: The loan is the final piece of funding to finalize construction on the $27M project, according to the RHMA.

Details: In 2014, the RHMA acquired the property located at 700 Brookside Avenue for the future site of the MOR. Construction on the project began in 2021.

In addition to raising $25M in private donations, the museum received a $2M grant from the state of California. After the final fundraising phase, the project was underfunded by about $750,000, according to RHMA. That's when representatives of the MOR presented a proposal for a $1 million loan from the city at 4% interest to be repaid in two years.

Unsecured and with no collateral or personal guarantees, city staff reassured council members during the meeting the loan was financially feasible.

"The city can afford to lend a million dollars. We're in good financial shape at the moment. We would like it to be paid back, but we can handle a loan for two years," said City Manager Charles Duggan.

RHMA plans to repay the loan through continued fundraising efforts over the next two years.

"We fully intend to pay that back. And if you look at our fundraising efforts over the past five or six years, they've been well over a million dollars a year," Steve Stockton, the president of the MOR, told City Council Tuesday.

Despite concerns about the lack of collateral to secure it, city council members expressed support for the MOR. They recognized the museum as a significant community resource and highlighted the importance of its completion.

"If it weren't a loan, I would be against it. But this is a loan. We'll be holding paper on it. And I have the utmost respect for the people that are running it, that we will get our money back," said Mayor Pro Tem Paul Barich.

Moving forward: Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Once opened, the museum will transfer ownership to the city of Redland and be managed by the A.K. Smiley Library Board of Trustees.

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