Mayor Swearengin, Met Officials Announce Terms of Agreement

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today joined City Council President Cynthia Sterling and representatives of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum to announce the terms of an agreement outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow the Met to continue operating at its current location while protecting the interests of Fresno taxpayers.

The terms of the agreement were presented to the Met’s board of trustees at a special meeting this morning, and a motion to accept the conceptual MOU was passed. The Fresno City Council will consider the agreement at a special meeting Tuesday.

“This agreement will protect the interests of the City while giving the Met the opportunity to continue to operate and serve people from Fresno and throughout the region,” said Mayor Swearengin. “It is a strong signal that the City values the Met as an organization and that we stand firmly behind the Met.”

“The Fresno Met is appreciative of the partnership offered by the City and the opportunity to remain a viable leader in the cultural enrichment of the Central Valley,” said Dana Thorpe, executive director of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum.

Major points of the agreement include:

• The Met will deed all real estate to the City.
• The City will take a note for the difference between the value of the real estate and the $15 million the City will pay to United Security Bank.
• The City will lease the museum building to the Met, with deferred rent for the first 3 years, and then at the City's actual cost for years 4-10, in addition to the Met paying back the deferred rent.
• The City may develop or sell the Met property, other than the museum building.
• The City will not be paying any debts or operating costs of the Met.
• The City may appoint a representative to attend Met board meetings and monitor finances.
• The City and Met are agreeing upon the key terms in an MOU now, and then will prepare and sign a number of documents to implement the terms.
• This arrangement best protects the interests of the City and allows the Met the opportunity to continue to serve the City residents, assuming the Met can satisfy its other financial obligations.

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