Taxpayers may foot bill to finish Chattanooga History Center - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Taxpayers may foot bill to finish Chattanooga History Center

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Chattanooga History Center, stalled after private funding came up short, is requesting state tax dollars to finish the museum and pay debt.    

Jo Coke, president, told attendees at the Center's annual awards luncheon Monday she is "cautiously optimistic" the funding will come in 2016-2017 state budget cycle which will allow the museum to open spring 2017. The tax dollars would pay off the existing mortgage, complete the museum, and fund other startup costs. 

After initially raising $10.5 million, the Center is more than $3 million short.

The original opening date was planned for mid-2012 but was pushed back to 2013 and then to 2014.

If state funding is approved, the final phase will begin this summer. Additionally, a $400,000 grant from the National Endowment of Humanities has been awarded. The museum leadership says they still needs support from the community for their ongoing operations.

As Coke made her closing statements Monday, she said through tears “This dream must live. Thank you for caring.”

Chattanooga History Center moved to its new location at 2 West Aquarium Way on the Aquarium Plaza in 2011.

Actor and Chattanoogan Samuel L. Jackson has recorded his voice for the Center’s opening film at no charge.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker was honored Monday with the History Makers Award.

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