City will try to lease land for Chinese Museum
Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City will request a lease from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for a site to construct a Chinese Workers Museum.
The action taken Thursday by the Board of Supervisors to approve filing the lease application “will be perceived by the Chinese government as support” of the project, said James Earl, the executive director of the museum.
Money to construct the museum will be raised by convincing corporations, industrialists and others with deep pockets in the U.S. and China of its worth, Earl said.
The lease agreement would be obtained through a recreation, parks and public purpose request to the federal government. It could speed up the land acquisition and construction of the museum itself.
The 80-acre site near the southeast corner of Highway 50 east and Drako Way would be near the planned V&T Railway tourist route and the Carson River, which is targeted for enhanced recreational use.
It’s a site among dozens included in the lands bill the city is attempting to have approved by federal legislators. A lease agreement might be faster than waiting for the lands bill to be finalized, said Juan Guzman, the city’s open space manager.
Though initial plans for neighboring retail, lodging and gaming have fallen through, the museum, V&T and the river should make the area attractive to other developers.
“They’ll see the potential of what their properties will be elevated to,” said Khan Tung, one of the principles behind the project along with Art Hannafin, both of Hannafin Design Associates.
The museum would showcase the lives, hardships and efforts of Chinese immigrants during the 19th and early 20th centuries, who were instrumental in constructing railroad routes in the West. This group also was integral to mining, farming and construction in the region during those decades.
Promoting cultural understanding about China and its history – and improving relations between U.S. and China – are other important goals, according to those involved in the museum’s nonprofit corporation now seeking money to construct the building.
Estimated cost for the project is $50 million. The design calls for two multistory buildings that would house 250,000 square feet of museum space.
Though there are local museums around the U.S. dedicated to Chinese-Americans, this would be the first national museum.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
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