Colorado

Oct 30, 2009 10:33 PM by Bea Karnes, Matt Stafford

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum hanging in the balance

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It was a tough life for pioneers who came to what is now Colorado Springs.  Now current settlers are seeing some struggles of their own, balancing the budget.

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The decision on ballot question 2C next week could mean new life, or the ax, for several things in Colorado Springs.  The Pioneers Museum looks to be in the cross hairs of budget-cuts.

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The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum--with its collection of Van Briggle pottery, its exhibits showing the history of the Pikes Peak region and Colorado Springs, and the old building itself--are on the chopping block. With nearly 30 million dollars in budget cuts coming next year, city officials say keeping places like the Pioneers Museum open may not be an option.

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"What would be left here, paid for just out of private donations, are just a couple of staff members to oversee the collection and ensure the collection's security," says Matt Mayberry, director of the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum.

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However, visiting hours would be over.

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"Every time that the government wants a tax hike, they come out with all kinds of scare stories about what's going to happen if the voters don't vote right," says former State Senator Andy McElhany.

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McElhany says he loves the museum, but this election, to him, is about making a point to city leaders.

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McElhany explains, "We have to ask government to live within the means that they have like the rest of us do, and then spend those dollars appropriately."

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Whether or not those dollars are meant for the Pioneers Museum, Mayberry is concerned about the upkeep of the collection.

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"I worry about those things, because they are the tangible bit of our past that helps us understand where we came from," says Mayberry.

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There's a lot unknown right now, and both sides are looking for answers.

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Mayberry says they don't know for sure that the doors will be closing on the Pioneers Museum, but he thinks it’s very likely if 2C fails. 

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