Biloxi Council Approves $1 Million Museum Donation - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Council Approves $1 Million Museum Donation

In a closely watched and controversial vote Tuesday night, the Biloxi City Council approved giving the proposed Ohr O'Keefe Museum one million dollars.

Mayor A.J. Holloway began the meeting by reiterating his support for the donation. But he added one stipulation, "I urge the board to begin construction now with the funds in hand."

Several residents spoke in favor of the donation. Most talked about impact this museum will have on South Mississippi. Only one person spoke against the idea. Willard Olier of Biloxi asked the council to take care of its current problems before giving money to a museum. "I'm not into art. I wish them all the luck in the world, but I need my problems fixed too."

After the residents shared their opinions, the council made some changes before voting on the proposal. Instead of one lump sum, the council decided to make the payments in two installments. "It's $500,000 this budget year and it will be $500,000 next budget year, so it will take a million dollars but it will take just a little longer," said Ward 3 Councilman Jim Compton. The final vote was 6-1 with only David Fayard of Ward 7 voting against the proposal.

The Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art will receive its first check for $500,000 within the week. The museum still needs to raise more than $10 million. Plans call for construction to begin in January of 2003. An opening date is tentatively set for January of 2005.

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