|It’s official: museums to merge at FARM|
|August 30, 2012 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen North Platte Valley Museum members (from left) Barb Jolliffe, Deanna Zweifel and Betty Balderson count ballots on whether to merge with the Farm And Ranch Museum to form Legacy of the Plains.
Previous membership votes to merge the North Platte Valley Museum and the Farm And Ranch Museum have passed, but on Aug. 23 they made it official.
The final vote was on whether to change the articles of incorporation to allow both museums to come together as Legacy of the Plains. However, both entities will retain their original names for advertising and promotional purposes.
FARM membership had the more extensive ballot, which asked three questions: whether to modify its articles of incorporation and change its name, whether its bylaws should be amended, and whether the merger should go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Modifying the articles of incorporation passed on an 84 – 14 vote. Changing the bylaws passed 89 – 9 and the Jan. 1 timeline was approved 87 – 10.
Membership of North Platte Valley Museum had only one question: whether to approve the merger. That ballot was approved by a 70 – 2 vote.
“We were pretty positive this latest vote would pass,” said Jody Ruzicka, board president of the North Platte Valley Museum. “We’re excited to finally go forward without wondering if the membership would approve the name change and the bylaws.”
Larry Hubbard, FARM board president said he was also excited. “A lot of things are going to happen in the next six months. This is a long range project, even though we wish it was done tomorrow. It will take a lot of work, so we’ll be asking the community for help as we build this.”
The goal is to break ground sometime in October, after Family Fun Day completes the 2012 tourism season.
Hubbard also the group needs to get a topography map of the area to see how much dirt is available and how much will need to be hauled in before any construction work gets underway.
“This is more work than any of us anticipated,” said Katie Bradshaw, executive director of the North Platte Valley Museum. “Our dreams were to start moving later this year. But this vote has opened the door for us to continue moving down the path together as one organization for our members and our community.”
Ruzicka said the two boards will start meeting soon, with plans to merge with new officers by Jan. 1. Also, a capital campaign will be launched soon to help build the new facility in the shadow of Scotts Bluff National Monument.
“We want to thank the people who came out and voted today,” Hubbard said. “We had a very good turnout and it’s exciting to see that much interest. It’s a good positive vote that gives us a lot of confidence to move forward.”