The fate of the Hanford Carnegie Museum was discussed during a Tuesday afternoon meeting between Board President Sylvia Gonzales Scherer, museum lawyer Steve Alfieris, Hanford Community Development Director Darlene Mata and City Attorney Ty Mizote.
The question was asked: if the Carnegie Museum got 95% of the repairs completed by the 10-day deadline what would happen to the lease? Mizote responded by saying the city would start with the eviction.
Scherer received a 10-day notice on August 23 containing a demand to make 18 repairs to the building. Their lease, written in 1979, says that the Hanford Carnegie Museum is responsible for all maintenance to the historic 115 year-old building, including HVAC units and structural issues.
Mata said in an interview today that a follow-up inspection is scheduled for September 3. She said the city is not prepared to say at this time how it will proceed until after the results of the inspection, except that it will follow whatever legal process is needed.
Scherer said that the museum has completed most of the city’s list but that some of the repairs, such as the rust on the wrought iron fence and cracks down the side of the building entail a process of weeks to accomplish. Because of this, the museum board and the city are already aware that the repairs will not be done by September 3.
The Carnegie Museum hired an engineering company this April to inspect cracks and that process alone took six weeks said Scherer.
Another built- in obstacle to making the deadline are several necessary permits requested by the city before various repairs can be done. One such example, said Scherer, is a donation of bark for the landscaping. The museum was informed at the Tuesday meeting that it would need a city permit to lay the bark but that Mata was very busy and may not have the time to get to it.
Alfieris asked what would happen to Hanford’s artifacts if the museum was evicted. Mata replied that they would just lock the building up. Scherer said that humidity is a problem and that the artifacts would need to be stored in a safe place. It was suggested that Visalia would be amenable to displaying Hanford’s history while the city clarifies its priorities.
Mata told the Voice that the artifacts belong to the Hanford Carnegie Museum, Inc. and that the city does not have a say in what the private corporation does with them.
Mata said that she does not anticipate any city council members to accompany city staff on the September 3 inspection but that they are aware of the process.
When asked who has the final word on if the city evicts the museum, Mata said, “Ultimately the city council has the final say over everything we do.”