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Dave Olson, Published April 27 2010

Deal assures Rourke Art Museum’s future in Moorhead

The city of Moorhead and the Rourke Art Gallery Museum appear ready to patch things up.

A dispute arose last fall when City Council members balked at paying to fix a leaky roof on the building, which is owned by the city and leased by the museum.

At one point, some council members raised the possibility that the city might consider selling the property.

On Monday night, the council was informed by City Manager Michael Redlinger that city staff had reached a tentative agreement with the museum on a new 30-year lease.

Under the terms of the lease, which the council is expected to vote on May 10, the city would move ahead with a roof replacement project expected to cost between $147,000 and $215,000, and the museum would cover about $52,000 of the cost via a payment plan.

The museum would also be responsible for the cost of regular maintenance at the museum, and it would have to cover the cost of future repairs, both major and minor.

However, if the building’s boiler needs replacing during the term of the lease, that cost would be covered by the city.

“This is good all the way around,” said City Council member Mark Hintermeyer, who hinted in the past the city might want to consider selling the property.

He said the museum’s willingness to contribute to the cost of repairing the roof put to rest his earlier concerns.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555