DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Staffers at a small museum decimated to preserving local African American history in Delray Beach received some stern advice from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency on Thursday.
The CRA allotted nearly $85,000 to help run the Spady Cultural Arts Museum last year. This week, CRA commissioners had the option of cutting next year's budget by approximately $22,000.
The Spady Museum is the only African American cultural museum of its kind in Palm Beach County. Currently, 28 percent of the Delray Beach population is black, according to the museum.
Faced with a funding crunch, the CRA had to decide whether to cut the museum's next budget. "Don't vilify us," said CRA Commissioner Annette Gray. "We have some guidelines that we have to follow."
Fewer than expected visitors and fewer than expected grant dollars meant that the Spady Museum likely would not be able operate as it is now if the proposed cuts were approved.
"We cannot continue to make exceptions," said Gray. "It is time to draw a hard line in the sand." Gray and other commissioners advised the Spady staffers and volunteers to draw more from the very community members that came out to support it at the meeting.
The CRA then voted 4 to 1 to fund the $22,000 instead of cutting the money, keeping the CRA contribution to the museum at nearly $85,000.
Museum officials acknowledged that they needed to reach deeper into the entire community for future support.