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Tuesday, 31 August 2010 18:57

Vision for Appalachian Women’s Museum stalled

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A long-range plan to create a museum highlighting the role and contribution of Appalachian women might be in limbo.

The Dillsboro town board last month informed representatives of the Appalachian Women’s Museum — which wants to renovate and turn the historic Monteith farmstead into the museum — that they were tabling, for six months, a request to sell or lease part of the property.

“That leaves us up in the air as far as securing funding for the project,” said Emma Wertenberger, president of the museum board. “We are considering options. We would like the partnership, but if it doesn’t work out, there will still be an Appalachian Women’s Museum somewhere.”

Dillsboro Mayor Mike Fitzgerald said he knows the museum group is disappointed by the town board’s decision, but that it might well resurface before the six-month stipulation has passed.

“They are looking at it still,” Fitzgerald said of his board. “They just don’t want it to keep coming up every meeting and taking up time.”

Additionally, the town board’s members are simply acting as good stewards of taxpayer dollars by carefully reviewing any possible legal ramifications of such a deal, he said. The group is eying 1.4 acres that comprise the core farmstead out of a total 16-acre tract.

The delay, in the short term at least, will hinder attempts to secure certain grants, Wertenberger said. The group says gaining title to the property is critical to secure funding to restore the historic farmhouse, which would house the museum.

The town of Dillsboro bought the Monteith farmstead in 2003. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places five years later.

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