LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - To stay afloat, three of Detroit's cultural hubs are asking for money from millages to fund their museums.
It's a strategy that's been used before with funding for the Detroit Zoo and Detroit Institute of Arts.
"A lot of museums are trying to find different ways to fund and remain stable," said State Rep. Tyrone Carter, who sponsored the legislation. "We can't always depend on the state legislature for line items or money. We've got to figure out another way. Otherwise, they'll have to close their doors."
Neil Barclay, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, said the 30-year-old building could use the funding for improvements. The museum, along with the Detroit Historical Museum and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle, would see the funding.
"We have about $25 million worth of deferred maintenance," he said. "We're going to try to put a dent in that this year. But it continues to be a problem because our building's 30 years old now. The thing I tell people about the right building, too, it's not like it's an office building; it's a museum. It requires humidity controls, temperature controls within the building, security for the artwork, storage spaces that have to be kept at certain temperatures. So it's a it's a very complicated building as well."
The legislation, which passed out of committee on Tuesday, now moves on to a floor vote. If approved by the legislature, voters of Wayne and Oakland counties will have an opportunity to decide whether to allow the millage.
"If we create that cultural area like they have in other cities, whether it's Chicago, Paris, I think that people would be surprised at what Detroit has to offer," he said.
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