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April 23, 2014

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Boulder Dam Hotel:

Historical group needs to raise $100,000 annually

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Justin M. Bowen

The historic Boulder Dam Hotel reopened this week after an anonymous donor gave $260,000 on Monday to bring it up to date on its bills and ensure its financial stability into next year. The nonprofit Boulder City Museum and Historical Association needs to raise about $100,000 a year to keep the Boulder Dam Hotel, restaurant and museum open, its board of directors was told this week.

Boulder Dam Hotel to reopen

The Boulder Dam Hotel, which closed for lack of funds on July 11, will reopen after receiving a donation of $260,000 on Monday from an anonymous donor. From left: attorney Ralph Denton, gift shop manager Marie Sullivan, Darryl Martin, president of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, and his wife, Sara Denton, a founding member of the Boulder City Museum and Historical Association. Launch slideshow »

Boulder Dam Hotel

The Treasured Times Tearoom is one of the rooms refurbished in the Boulder Dam Hotel under the supervision of manager Roger Shoaff. The tearoom, one of the amenities and sources of revenue at the hotel, offers tea by reservation only. Launch slideshow »

Boulder Dam Hotel

The nonprofit Boulder City Museum and Historical Association needs to raise about $100,000 a year to keep the Boulder Dam Hotel, restaurant and museum open, its board of directors was told this week.

Financial statements presented to the board Wednesday showed the association brought in income of $316,887 from January through May this year and spent $345,746, to leave a shortfall of $28,859.

That lack of money — and falling business into the slow summer months — caused the board to close the hotel on July 11. When it closed, the hotel was three months behind on its mortgages of $940,000 and owed vendors and insurance payments.

The hotel reopened this week after an anonymous donor gave $260,000 on Monday to bring it up to date on its bills and ensure its financial stability into next year.

Cost-cutting measures taken so far this year stemmed the losses, hotel manager Roger Shoaff told the board. But costs could not be cut fast enough or deeply enough.

The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum, which occupies about half the mezzanine with exhibits and the basement with archives, costs about $50,000 a year to operate, Shoaff said.

In addition, the fixed costs for the hotel, restaurant and museum — the mortgage, insurance and his salary — are about $150,000 a year, he said. If that were split evenly among the hotel, restaurant and museum, the hotel and restaurant cover their share, but the museum does not, Shoaff said.

The point, Shoaff said, is that the non-business portion of the operation — the museum — is the portion that needs financial help.

That also is the portion that the public wants to support, board members said.

“We get some resistance when people say they don’t want to support the businesses,” board member Bret Runion said.

“The point is that we are a nonprofit and the public needs to understand that,” board member Cindy Bandy said. “We serve a public function.

“The restaurant and hotel constitute our endowment.”

Board President Darryl Martin said he has taken to calling the hotel a cultural center, “which in order to exist needs to raise $100,000 a year.”

The next step, the board members agreed, is to recruit volunteers experienced in fundraising to lead the association toward its goal of annually raising enough money to support the museum.

The board hopes to find corporate sponsors to support the museum.

The board also voted to fill the seat of former President Bill Ferrence with Jim Beneda and to add Martha Anderson to the board. Ferrence resigned from the board when it voted to close the hotel, because he is manager of the Boulder Dam Credit Union, which holds the mortgages and was in a position to foreclose.

Martin said the board, going forward, will not be caught short.

“We’re going to do our jobs, and we’re not going to face this situation again,” he said.

Jean Reid Norman can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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