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Johnsburg board mulls funding for Depot Museum

— Without town funding, the museum would have four basic options:

It could cut out all non-essential expenses and only open during the two summer months.

It could turn the museum over to the town.

It could merge with the railroad company and form a joint venture.

It could shut down completely.

Miner invited the board to visit the museum for a tour, so it could experience first-hand what the museum offers and adds to the town.

“We have a gem right here in Johnsburg,” Miner told them.

Board member Mary Moro shared some of the history of the train depot. Moro said starting around 1990; the volunteer board raised more than $450,000 to restore the museum. Moro told the board that the museum represented the heart of the town of Johnsburg, from Teddy Roosevelt to the railroad and skiing. It is the link between the town’s rich history and its present and serves to inform both visitors and residents of the town’s legacy.

“The town has benefitted greatly from the museum,” she said, suggesting that in a way, the museum has prepaid the town for the funding it is now receiving. “I agree that you shouldn’t give something if you’re getting nothing in return. But we’ve prepaid and the town has benefitted greatly.”

Museum board member Michael Brassel urged the board to consider the place the museum has in the town.

“The town of Indian Lake has a museum,” Brassel said. “Minerva has a museum. Picture us without a museum.”

But Town Councilman Peter Olesheski was unfazed by the presentation.

“I respect you and all that you’ve done,” Olesheski said. “I’ve got to be honest, I appreciate the challenges you’ve had to overcome. But I’m not sure it’s appropriate for the town to be singling out an organization and giving it a line item in the budget.”

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