The 35th Meeting of the MONTANA HERITAGE COMMISSION Tuesday, 3rd December 2002 Room 226, Montana Department of Commerce Helena, Montana
MISSION Manage, develop and operate Heritage Commission properties by preserving, stabilizing, rehabilitating, interpreting and exhibiting buildings and artifacts; oversee and operate profitable commercial enterprises while creating and maintaining credible relationships with all stakeholders and partners to protect historic character for the benefit and enjoyment of generations of Montanans and guests.
The meeting was called to order at 12:30.
Commissioners Present: Rosana Skelton, John Lawton, Arnie Olsen, Diane Rice, Mark Simonich, Bill Howell, Mary Oliver, Brian Cockhill, Maureen Averill, Jeanette McKee, Dale Mahlum, Doug Monger Commissioners Absent: Judy McNally, Patrick Kiem (Note: Pat Keim was out of town and arrived at the meeting site just as the meeting ended.) Others present: Jeff Tiberi, Karlee Smith, Linda McClure, John Boles, Jerry Fox, Suzie Johnson, Ed Chebul and Chere Jiusto. A motioned was made by Mark Simonich and seconded by Mary Oliver to approve the minutes from the 9/12/02 meeting. The motioned passed unanimously. Jeff gave the Director’s report. The main strategic challenges for 2003 are to get through the Session, address performance audit issues, prepare for summer operations, and continue to seek additional funds to keep the project moving forward. The Legislative Open House will be held at the Montana Club on 23 rd January. The Biennial Report for 58th Session and the Governor is in draft form. Commissioners are asked to send comments to Jeff as soon as possible, as the document needs to be printed soon. Slide show presentations at the TAC meeting and the MIKA meeting were well received. Jeff was told to include a map of the towns, as there are many people who do not know where Virginia City is located. He will adjust slide show to include a map. (Maureen advised him to delete the numbers slide - how many windows and doors, etc.) Revenue in 02 is up 15%. Our 5 year average increase is 20.7%. This meeting is the 35th meeting of the Montana Heritage Commission; the 34 th meeting was a closed meeting, as the Performance Audit was discussed, and no minutes were taken. By state law performance audits are confidential until the Legislative Audit Committee receives the report. The P & I committee will review proposed changes for Tent Village. John Scott has proposed to build cabin at this site, and make a few other changes.
We will say good-bye to Bernie - his contract is up at the end of this month. His threeyear assignment with us has been a great experience and excellent training for our Preservation Crew. There will be a going away party for him on the 17 th Dec in VC. A roast will be held and an invitation has been extended to the Commissioners. His plans for the future include raising $30,000 to do a PBS production featuring homestead living. This will be a 13 part series. Many of the scenes will be filmed in Virginia City and Nevada City. Jeff mentioned that the RFP is out for The Bale of Hay Saloon. A new movie – Seabiscuit - will be filmed in March and April in Virginia City and Nevada City. Jeff mentioned the audio tours scripts were close to completion. A Christmas deadline was mentioned. Committee Reports Executive Committee - A motion was made for Rosana Skelton and John Lawton to serve again as Chair and Vice Chair for another year by Bill Howell and seconded by Mark Simonich and it passed unanimously. Finance Committee - CY2003 Budget Approval - Bill Howell reviewed the budget, with one change noted from the previous document. The collection staff has requested an additional $10,500 from capital funding for collections and building repairs. This increase would be used for removal of molding food and rodent protection and repairs of the buildings. Doug Monger asked where the money would be coming from. Karlee answered from the Commission’s capital fund (state dollars). A motion was made by Bill Howell and seconded by Mark Simonich to approve the 2003 budget. The motioned was approved. Preservation and Interpretation Committee - There has been a verbal loan request from the Museum of the Rockies. They want to borrow underwear. We will wait for a written request before any action is taken. Railroad Advisory Council – Dale Mahlum There was a meeting held on 8/25/02 to discuss the midnight moonlight train ride. Wine and cheese would be served. All tickets would be marketed and sold in advance. It was noted that we have a lot of RR cars in the yard that are not in good condition. It was suggested to sell some cars to fund the repair of others. It would be ideal to have a train museum in Nevada City for train cars, this would give people getting off at Nevada City something else to do while waiting for the return trip to Virginia City. It was noted Engine #8 is having mechanical problems. It would be good to have10 % of the projected revenue ($6800.) put aside for repairs. Another idea is to look at building new cars for passengers. A vision for the railroad for the future is needed. Last year all engine operators were certified. Federal Railroad Administration inspection sheets are being used with complete documentation. A guest book was suggested to be placed at the Nevada City Depot. Diane asked about scheduling train rides for the convenience of customers so that they may spend time in Nevada City. John Boles commented he would like to see the train schedule be more flexible. Karlee said Nevada City Gate was only up 7%. Therefore schedule logistics need to be worked out. Karlee suggested a combination ticket. The logistics will be completed before the spring.
Doug Monger asked if money was available for the maintenance of the train. A motion was made by Doug to deposit $6,800 of railroad revenue once $68,000 is collected (the 2003 revenue projection), into a special account for RR maintenance. Mary Oliver seconded this motion. The motion passed with Brian Cockhill opposing. Finance committee asked Karlee to report on customized license plates for the Heritage Commission. The initial cost would be $1200. It was decided that the market has been flooded with these customized license plates so we will not proceed at this time. The Commission attempted twice to call Commissioner Judy McNally to hear her suggestions on Speaking Points and Telephone Tree. Due to a death in her family, she was unavailable. Therefore, Jeff gave a short report on Judy’s plan for the calling tree. Judy has used this format previously for historic preservation issues and it has work out quite well. Vivian Paladin Memorial - Jeanette McKee reported on the Vivian Paladin memorial. We voted as a commission for a memorial for Vivian, but we do not want to compete with Montana Historical Society’s memorial funds. Vivian’s daughter has indicated she would rather memorial money go to a children’s fund. Jeanette said Ruth McFarland would like to donate trees and benches at the McFarland Curatorial Center with a plaque that says “Rest and reflect on Vivian Paladin’s fine contributions in prose to Montana’s vivid and exciting history.” The future of this project is unknown, but Jeanette will continue to look into it. Stonewall Hall/SFBT update - Dale Mahlum reported on Stonewall Hall. He has met with the attorneys and they will not give any funds to accompany the building as a donation. They are hoping to get an answer soon from the Judge regarding the settlement of the Bovey estate.
Legislative Update - Diane Rice reminded everyone that draft legislation LC 24 is in progress and is on the web site. Diane asked for the slide show to be shown during the reception for the Legislators at the Montana Club. She suggested at 7:00 show the slide show. Arnie suggested distributing the narrative as handouts. The video should be shown also.
Advertising Update - Karlee Smith reported MHC is partnering with Town of Virginia City and Chamber of Commerce for advertising. She said there is $19,000.00 in the budget for 2004. Advertising slicks were distributed so all could review. The Chamber of Commerce has hired a professional advertiser - 45 Degree N. The reason they did this is for consistency in advertising. Fam Tours and publicity events on June 5th & 6th are scheduled. We are hoping for a lot of publicity from this. She has also been revamping brochures with Jeff Lovely, using John Ellingsen’s and Ken Sievert’s artwork to keep continuity of the old time look. Our Web site designer is looking at changes. Public Input and Comment – Rosana asked the public for comment, but there were no takers. Town of Virginia City Update - Jerry Fox had nothing new to report on the Olsen case, but it will be held in District Court in Virginia City. The Waste Water project will go to
State Land Board on Dec. 18 to seek easements for the facility. The line will to go though Nevada City near John Ellingsen’s house. The project should go out to bid in March with construction starting in June. Jeff requested no digging from June to September in front of Nevada City. Jerry asked Jeff and Diane to appear before State Land Board. Jerry has received requests to turn off some of the streetlights in Virginia City. There will be a public hearing on this issue. Virginia City Preservation Alliance Update - Suzie Johnson reported on the Joshua Leavitt workshop. She said the strategy workshop involved townspeople, businesses, many organizations and the Montana Heritage Commission. The results showed communication is most important element for everyone. On January 27 th there will be another meeting to discuss the results. Suzie reported that there are 18 groups in Virginia City. Chere Jiusto, Executive Director of the Montana Preservation Alliance, gave a presentation of what her organization does. The National Trust works very close with them. They take the lead on education and preservation issues. Their current membership is just under 200. She said they are looking forward to building a relationship with the Virginia City Preservation Alliance and other organizations like them. Doug Monger asked her about historic property conservation easements for tax credits. Cheri said this was already in place and repair and maintenance was included. Jeff gave a brief report on a MDT Highway bypass study. Bypasses have hurt other towns and we must enter into this study with this in mind. Jeff’s comment was that is only a study and we need to see the facts before any decisions can be made. Judy had asked for economic data to be included in some manner. Jeff asked Mark Simonich to assist and Mark agreed. Tom Cook’s public relation hours will terminate this month. There was discussion about reusing the videotapes, which were made and aired last fall. We need to see how effective the in-state advertising was last summer. Jeff and Mark will pursue this. Mary reported on the Virginia City Christmas Social. She said five retail sales were open and 150 people showed up for the lighting of the trees. One retail owner told her they had their very best day ever in sales. Jeff reported that Jay Russell of the Montana History Foundation has collected another $110,000 for the SAT grant match. The meeting adjourned at 2:30. Respectfully Submitted Linda McClure