Cranbrook History Centre requests increase to annual city grant

Guy Santucci, president of the board, says operational costs continue to rise

The Cranbrook History Centre is requesting an increase to their annual grant from the city in order to cover rising operational costs.

Guy Santucci made the request on behalf of the organization, which seeks to increase their annual grant from $90,000 to $110,000.

For 2018 budget year, the history centre took in $403,000 of income, but faced operating expenses of $410,000 — a $7,000 shortfall.

“The rationale for additional granting — we have rising costs of wages, utilities, supplies, insurance, taxes, maintenance and sundry expenses,” said Santucci. “Operational grants are difficult to obtain; most grants are for capital or project-specific and the Cranbrook History Centre has not petitioned city council for an increase in at least 10-15 years that I’m aware of and there has been no annual increase to combat normal inflation.”

Santucci attributes previous mismanagement for the loss of a $45,000 grant from the B.C. Arts Council. He says the history centre is currently interviewing for a business manager and that other funding sources and granting options are being fully pursued.

Some of those ideas include raising membership prices, charging out for travelling exhibits and chasing corporate sponsorships.

“The train museum is where we can strike a chord with national and international fundraising,” Santucci said. “We’ve got a lot of aficionados of trains in the U.S. and Europe that I think are worth calling up and there may be some substantial money there.”

“We want to focus on finishing Phase Two of the train shed because we need to protect those assets, but if we can start some of this money rolling in, we’ll accept money from anywhere.”

The Cranbrook History Centre includes the archives, which contains over 45,000 artifacts that preserve objects and records of value to the history of the city and the Canadian railway.

Exhibits include the world-famous train car collection, which include 28 cars — 13 of which are available to the public. Highlights of the collection include seven cars of the 1929 ‘Trans-Canada Limited’, two cars of the 1907 ‘Soo-Spokane Train’ and a 1927 executive night car ‘Strathcona’.

The centre also includes a model railway that depicts the railway and locomotives winding through local Kootenay landscapes.

The Royal Alexandra Hall is also a significant part of the history centre as a former hotel in Winnipeg that was disassembled over 50 years ago but restored in Cranbrook in 1999.

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