August 14, 1998


NEW $13 MILLION HISPANIC CULTURAL CENTER IN WORKS

SANTA FE (AP) - After years of work, plans for a $13 million Hispanic cultural center here are starting to take form.

A master plan for El Museo Cultural de la Santa Fe was recently released. It calls for creating a place where patrons can exhibit art, learn to cook, carve, rehearse and perform dance, music and theater.

But, there's still much work to do. City officials have not adopted the plan or decided what kind of arrangement it wants with the center's volunteer board.

The project is headed by El Museo Cultural de la Santa Fe, the corporate successor to the grassroots group Los Amigos del Museo.

The group, which took its new name last week, won conceptual approval for the project from the city in 1994 and secured a commitment to locate near the old Santa Fe railroad.

The board has a contract with the city to plan and raise money for the center. In exchange, the city provides the group with office space.

The Museo board is negotiating with the city for a new contract and lease that would allow El Museo to move into a larger, warehouse space. El Museo's board is seeking federal and state money to renovate the building.

El Museo must raise some private money for the project, according to its agreement with the city. However, the group hasn't gotten federal nonprofit status needed to receive donations.

Since 1995, El Museo has received $351,000 from the city and the state. The master plan cost $112,000 while the rest has gone into costs and renovation of El Museo office space, said John Griego, director of the city Capital Improvements Programs Division.

Councilor Patti Bushee said she would like see an overall plan for the cultural center before the city puts more money into the project.

``I think everyone on the council is supportive of the concept of El Museo Cultural,'' Bushee said. ``But I think maybe some of us are not aware of the details.''

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