Last week the City Commission unanimously passed Resolution 293 supporting the “continued opening” of Cedar Key Museum State Park.
The resolution states that the museum’s status as a tourism attraction that draws needed commerce to the area as well as the entertainment that it gives community members justifies keeping it open.
"[I]n these difficult economic times, the City cannot afford to lose any tourist attraction," states the resolution.
The museum is one of 19 state parks that have been suggested for temporary closure due to the recession. The parks chosen were based on low visitation numbers and revenue compared to relatively high operating budgets, according to DEP spokeswoman Amy Graham.
During fiscal year 2007-08, the museum received more than 19,000 visitors. Revenue for that time period amounted to $24,357, less than half of the park’s annual operating budget of $54,786.
Even closed, the museum will require a significant budget: ambient temperature and humidity will be needed to preserve artifacts, and the facility and exterior exhibits will need to be maintained by a caretaker.
The City’s resolution “respectfully requests that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allow the Cedar Key Museum to remain open.”
The Commission’s adoption of the resolution means that Cedar Key government joins businesses and citizens alike to oppose closing the museum.
In November the Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter urging the governor to keep the museum open.
The decision to close the museum or to keep it open will be made in the 2009 legislative session.
RESOLUTION NO. 293
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CEDAR KEY, LEVY COUNTY, FLORIDA; SUPPORTING THE CONTINUED OPENING OF THE CEDAR KEY MUSEUM STATE PARK.
WHEREAS, the City of Cedar Key depends heavily on tourism for economic support; and WHEREAS, the Cedar Key Museum State Park is an important tourist attraction in the Cedar Key area; and WHEREAS, in these difficult economic times, the City cannot afford to lose any tourist attraction; and WHEREAS, the City of Cedar Key is a small town that relies on the Cedar Key Museum as a source of entertainment for its residents; and WHEREAS, the Cedar Key Museum is one of only a few state parks in the area; and WHEREAS, The Cedar Key Museum is on a list of parks which the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is proposing for temporary closure; NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CEDAR KEY, FLORIDA, AS FOLLOWS:
The City Commission of Cedar Key respectfully requests that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allow the Cedar Key Museum to remain open.
Chamber of Commerce Letter to Gov. Crist
November 25, 2008
Dear Governor Crist,
We are writing to ask you to reconsider your decision to include the Cedar Key Museum State Park on a list of Florida state parks to be considered for being closed because of budget restraints. This small museum is a focus point of the community of Cedar Key. It is extremely popular with both visitors and locals alike and is excellent for teaching children about the long history of this area and also the natural history. Cedar Key, being such a small city and distant from neighboring cities and towns, has few options for visitors who do not want or cannot participate in water- and nature-based activities that our area is famous for, and the State Museum, as it is known locally, is one place they can visit. The museum staff also co-hosts the Cedar Key Star Party each winter. Over the years this event has grown as many people, both local and visitors, enjoy viewing the dark night skies over Cedar Key through an array of high-powered telescopes. These are brought by amateur astronomers from all over North America who gather here for a week of star gazing.
Please look at all the options before deciding to close our State Museum.
Paul Rimavicus, President
Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce