Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Arizona taxpayers pay twice for Marley Center Museum
The folly of the Arizona Historical Society’s Marley Center Museum at Papago Park has been well documented by the news media and by Arizona Auditor General Reports. At a cost of about $30 million, it has proven to be of little use to the community. The interactive museum displays tucked away on the second floor are now rotting and rusting in a state of disrepair. There are so few visitors, the gift shop closed. The library is also closed. The prominently placed cocktail bar appears to be used, but poses a question. Why should Arizona taxpayers subsidize private wedding parties?
Though it has very limited value to the community, taxpayers are going to pay for it twice. The Marley was included in a bundle of state properties financed by a $300 million Series 2010B Certificate of Participation issued by the U.S. Bank National Association, Morgan Stanley, and others in 2010. Taxpayers were just about from under the initial 20 year mortgage on the Marley, when the Arizona legislature saddled them with another 20 year mortgage (technically a lease purchase) on the very same building.
This amounts to taxpayer abuse in the midst of a financial crisis. The Marley is a nonessential state property and should have been sold. If someone had given the state just one dollar for the property, taxpayers would have been far better off.