Saturday was the final day that we offered tours through both the Hall of Waters and Museum here in Excelsior Springs. Our hopes were that those who had questions about what was being asked of with the Museum Tax would be answered. Here’s a pictorial walk through of both buildings.
The Hall of Waters is owned by the City, which spends $104,000 annually for utilities, insurance, minor repairs and custodial services. The Museum, owned by a non-profit, spends about $16,000 a year for the same.
Tourists are attracted to our town because we offer unique places and things to see and do. Our Main Street organization, Downtown Excelsior Partnership, reported that in 2017 more than 9,000 people came through our Visitor Center at the Hall of Waters.
Heritage Tourism grows our economy. Tourism is one of our critical industries. It supports our quality of life, as well as many jobs and businesses.
The City of Excelsior Springs prepared a Request for Proposal on the Hall of Waters in 2016 to seek a unique partnership for redevelopment. Discussion with the local towns people made it clear that they did not want the city to sell (or give away) the Hall of Waters for private use. It was important that it remain open to the public and owned by the public.
The Hall of Waters under city ownership enjoys tax support, or it would be just a memory. It competes for funding with all other tax supported city services, and usually does not win when there is need for an ambulance or many other things that cannot be postponed. The City has not raised taxes for general fund operations for over 40 years. Passage of this tax would establish a funding source that protects the building’s future and allows the general fund to fund city services.
Each yellow pin represents a well site in our downtown. There is no other place in the world that has as many mineral water well sites as Excelsior Springs.
This is damage that you can see from the flooding that has occurred over the years. There used to be a spiral stairway that led to the lower floor of the pool.
Hall of Waters goals as established by a Facilities Plan completed in 2016:
• Ensure the building is properly pressurized/ventilated to stop on-going deterioration
• Immediate need for making structural repairs to the building, estimated $1,170,000
• Leasable space, lighting, HVAC, ductwork, pumps, need in 2-5 years, estimated $3,445,000
• Exterior cleaning, windows, concrete, stonework, need in 2-5 years, estimated $2,886,000
• Leasable space, pool balcony, event space, lighting, windows, need in 10 years, estimated $4,180,000
• Siloam Spring Well Room, spa, needed in 10+ years, estimated $1,982,000
The Museum, supported solely by membership and fundraising, believes the tax is necessary toward its works to preserve the historic bank building and adjoining hotel, which houses the documents of our history. The quality exhibits and educational programs are a labor of love from volunteers, there is no paid staff. The Maurer Foundation provides some support to the Museum, formed by Mary Katherine Dickson, who believed our collective history is our collective responsibility.
This is a drainage pipe that has recently busted, draining into one of the Museum’s rooms where items are being stored.
This is in the basement of the old Prichard’s funeral home where Bross and Spidle is now.
This is the second story of the old Francis Hotel, which sits next to the old Clay County Bank. The museum has been able to extend into that area, but the space above hasn’t been finished out to become a usable space again. If the tax were passed, this space could be built out to offer possible residence apartments, office space, and safe storage space for the Museum.
The floors on the Francis side of the Museum have become warped from moisture over the years.
Excelsior Springs Museum and Archives goals:
• Establish steady income to pay the bills
• Need a Curator to manage day-to-day operation
• Immediate need to repair walkway between buildings, estimated $30,000
• Facility plan for the building, recommendations for making the building last another 50 years
• Energy efficiency improvements, HVAC, LEDs, electrical, solar options
• Make the second floor useful as a potential revenue generator
• Improve displays
• Floor coverings
The assessed valuation in the city limits of Excelsior Springs is approximately $154 million. A 30-cent property tax levy per $100/AV will generate approximately $462,000 annually.
For more information, visit MuseumTax.com
For more stories on the Hall of Waters visit:
Evening Walk Through the Hall of Waters