The LeMay Car Museum‘s option on a site near the Tacoma Dome expires in August. That means we’ll soon find out what the museum’s backers can actually deliver.
My prediction: Better lower expectations.
I gather that instead of an exhibition building where visitors can admire hundreds of vintage cars collected by Parkland’s late Harold LeMay, there may be an education facility and what amounts to a storage garage for the cars. The only public display facility would be an outdoor "showfield" where collectors and car clubs could show off their four-wheeled treasures.
Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson confirmed the possibility of a scaled-down vision during an ed board meeting this week. The museum board has a June 1
meeting scheduled to review alternatives.
I had been hearing all winter that the city might have trouble coming up with its part of the LeMay deal – and that museum fundraising hasn’t gone as well as backers hoped. The latter isn’t surprising, given the sorry state of the U.S. auto industry, one source of support for the project. That wasn’t foreseen when the museum and the city signed a deal for a 9-acre site at the Tacoma Dome nearly five years ago.
Anderson says he’s confident the city can meet its obligation to provide the parking it is obliged to build if the museum project goes forward. How the city might do that, he said, depends on what the museum’s first phase turns out to be. The showfield concept, he said, might require less parking, and that could be the subject of future negotiations.