Recently, the Mesa County Commissioners had to reduce the budgets of all County departments and community partners by 5%; this included the annual County investment in Museums of Western Colorado (MWC). The County contribution to MWC is based on a 1974 election by the Mesa County voters who, by a 4-to-1 margin, agreed that the community should have a financially-supported museum dedicated to persevering local heritage.
The MWC acknowledges that Mesa County departments are taking equal “hits” of five percent, and understands and appreciates that the Commissioners are doing their best to ensure that no one department or partner is negatively impacted more than others. MWC is reassured that it is not singled out in suffering these reductions, and has fully cooperated with Mesa County in addressing this budget shortage.
At the same time, it is important for citizen and voters to know how this reduction hurts MWC’s educational and other programming, as well as facility maintenance and volunteer development. The loss in revenues has forced MWC to:
- Cancel its summer camp series. This includes the Pioneer Camps at Cross Orchards that have been hosting elementary through middle school-aged children for years.
- Delay further recruitment and training of volunteers.
- Reduce support maintenance at Cross Orchards Historic Site.
- Reduce weekly free Wednesday evenings at Dinosaur Journey and free Thursday evenings at Museum of the West, both of which will cease in mid-May. We will bring back the free Thursday evenings at Museum of the West in July, but we will have to delay reinstating them at Dinosaur Journey.
At MWC, we fully believe that the growth of Mesa County’s visitor economy is part of the long-term solution to a financially stable and vibrant community. For every dollar spent developing a place that is appealing to visitors, nationwide statistics show a seven-fold return. MWC continues its commitment to cooperate with Mesa County and its citizens in nurturing the growth of the local visitor industry and our community’s overall economic recovery.
We turn to you, our friends, to help us bridge the temporary financial shortfall caused by County cuts. The economy will come back, but we need your help now so that MWC can sustain its mission to “inspire the community to preserve its heritage and tell its story through strong stewardship and relevant programming.”