The Library Fee has postponed the choice to formally acknowledge the necessity for an settlement between the Austin Historical past Heart Affiliation and the town of Austin.

Based on the proposed settlement from the affiliation, the group would have a seat on the desk with the town in the case of fundraising for the historical past heart and its enlargement plan, very like the Lengthy Heart, Austin Parks Basis and Austin Group Basis have. 

In a Library Fee assembly on April 26, Chad Williams, board member of AHCA and previous chair of the Library Fee, offered an enlargement plan replace from the Austin Historical past Heart Affiliation.

“We’re critical about being monetary companions on this endeavor with the town of Austin to protect Austin’s historical past,” Williams mentioned. He defined that the shortage of a authorized settlement would hinder AHCA’s means to lift cash and get grants. 

Whereas the commissioners weren’t certain what sort of a relationship AHCA was in search of, Commissioner Catherine Hanna instructed the Austin Monitor she believed it’s “much like partnerships that Pals of the Parks and the Lengthy Heart have, however we’re not aware of these agreements. I believe the commissioners wished to see just a bit extra definitive details about what that formal settlement would appear to be.” 

The Austin Historical past Heart was arrange in 1980 in an present library constructing as a part of the Austin Public Library system, as a historic archive for the town. The nonprofit, citizen-based group “advocates for the preservation and discovery of our 181-year historical past and in addition the preservation of the official information of the town of Austin,” as former Mayor Lee Cooke, the president of AHCA, instructed the Monitor

Cooke and former Mayor Ron Mullen are each concerned in AHCA’s fundraising efforts. In March 2021, AHCA obtained a present of $1 million to seed a brand new endowment fund that can generate curiosity income for the historical past heart’s annual operations. 

The present enlargement plan contains taking two unique library buildings – the Austin Historical past Heart and Faulk Library – and changing them into an archival analysis facility that may make extra applied sciences out there for residents who need entry to native historical past.

Though within the final 4 to 5 years the affiliation has been welcomed by library management in addition to Metropolis Council, AHCA doesn’t at the moment have a authorized doc figuring out it as a accomplice. Formalizing the connection is a part of a push to lift cash for the affiliation itself and in addition elevate capital marketing campaign funds for the grasp plan, Williams defined. 

“We’re speaking about elevating tens of millions of {dollars}, and also you don’t elevate tens of millions of {dollars} simply based mostly on a handshake of a relationship; that is sort of primarily what we’ve got now,” Williams mentioned. 

AHCA goals to lift funds for a full-time government director, assist employees and programming wants for the Historical past Heart. 

Austin Public Library staffers are ready to get suggestions from the AHCA to allow them to put the authorized language in place for the draft settlement, APL Director Roosevelt Weeks mentioned. The staffers will deliver it to the Library Fee’s consideration of their subsequent assembly, he mentioned. 

“We’re critical about being monetary companions on this,” he mentioned. “The good factor is that there are different nonprofits that get pleasure from this degree of partnership and we’re merely asking to be let into the clubhouse.”

The fee determined to attend for the draft settlement from the affiliation and the library system. 

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