Town of Jupiter supports moving Burt Reynolds Museum to BR Park

JUPITER, Fla. - The Town of Jupiter supports moving the Burt Reynolds Museum and Burt Reynolds Institute of Film and Theatre to a new site, at the 35.5-acre park named after him.

The next step is to get the same approval from Palm Beach County.

A letter from Jupiter Mayor Karen Golonka, dated May 17, stated, "On behalf of the Town Council, please accept this correspondence as an expression of the Town Council's support for the relocation of the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum to Burt Reynolds Park."

The location is on the east side of Burt Reynolds Park, near Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Station 18 and the Loxahatchee River Center, formerly the Loxahatchee River Historical Society Museum building.

The Reynolds museum must move out of its temporary site, the old First Union Bank building on U.S. 1 and Indiantown Road, which houses years of filmmaking memorabilia from movie icon Reynolds' career, along with Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre acting classes and performances.

Construction is expected to start soon on the $150 million Harbourside marina/hotel project with Harbourside's developers, the Palm Beach Gardens-based Allied Capital & Development.

The Reynolds' museum leased the first floor of the old bank building, at $1 per year, from the Town of Jupiter since 2004, for a temporary home. The Perry Institute for Marine Science leases the top floor and must also seek a new location.

It is Kathleen Kozinski, Esq., BRIFT's new board chair, with the approval of film star Reynolds, who spearheaded a project to find a new home for the museum and institute on a plot of land on the park's east side..

In the town letter, Golonka said, "We believe that this is the perfect location for the Museum. The fact that it will be located in a park named after Mr. Reynolds speaks for itself.

"Additionally, the fact that visitors to the proposed Harbourside development, the Riverwalk and Inlet Village will have immediate access to the Museum will make the location an interesting destination for anyone visiting the area."

Reynolds was not available for comment because he is making a film in Canada.

But Kozinski said, "It's wonderful. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the mayor and council for their favorable endorsement. We are taking this one step at a time, with our first priority being to supply the county with information sufficient to help the commissioners make an informed decision. No architects or designer have been chosen yet."

"Our next step is to get an OK from the county," she said. "We have lots of committee people signing up and we'll start our fundraising activities if the county approves our application."

That next step is set for June 21, according to County Commissioner Karen Marcus.

Marcus said Monday that a packet of information from Kozinski are slated to go the agenda, for County Commissionconsideration.

"The space we are talking about has been a location of interest for the museum for a long time," Marcus said. "We discussed it with Mr. Reynolds, back when the Loxahatchee River Center was moving in to the old Historical Society building, but the support to raise the necessary financial funds wasn't available at that time, so with this new project we are very hopeful that everything can be worked out for the space."

The exact location, between the two existing buildings, is just south of where the historical Tindall House was located, now moved to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Park, Marcus said.

"There is plenty of room there to construct a building with museum, classroom space and a black-box theater, between the Fire Rescue Station and (the River Center), according to our parks department and also plenty of shared parking," Marcus added.

If the Commission approves, the staff will negotiate a long-term lease on the property.

"I'm very OK with the project. It's ideal," Marcus said.

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