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September 22, 2014

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Henderson puts hold on funding for science museum

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A conceptual model of the Henderson Space and Science Center.

Henderson Space and Science Center

An artist's rendering depicts the outdoor exhibits courtyard at the Henderson Space and Science Center. Launch slideshow »

The Henderson Space and Science Center is going to have to wait for its next piece of funding from the city.

A discussion on whether the city should give the next allocation of funding to the science museum — a $2.9 million sum — was postponed indefinitely after City Manager Mark Calhoun wrote the council a letter discouraging it.

In his letter, Calhoun said the city has several other capital-project funding interests that should come before the Henderson Space and Science Center.

“I recommend that the city council hold all funds earmarked within the land fund for the HSSC until further information is available and presented to you,” Calhoun said in the letter.

Calhoun lists the Eldorado Valley Training Facility, convention center remodeling and upgrades to the Henderson Pavilion as projects that require attention before the science center.

Jack Clark, executive director of the Henderson Space and Science Center, said that although he was surprised by the city manager’s recommendation, he is confident the city will fulfill its 2009 gift agreement of $25 million.

“We feel like we will have the city’s funding,” said Clark. “The city has a lot of financial issues that they're dealing with (and) we will continue to work with the city to find options.”

Clark and members of the space and science center’s board unveiled a conceptual design of the state-of-the-art science museum earlier this month and were preparing to come to the council this week to ask for the $2.9 million they say is needed to move on to the next phase of the project.

The center, envisioned as a science and education-driven civic hub, will sit on five acres next to the proposed $1.5 million Union Village complex near U.S. 95 and Galleria Drive. It is estimated to cost $63 million and is tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2015.

Mayor Andy Hafen said going forward the city will meet with the center’s board to discuss what funds the project will really need.

“There are competing interests, if you will, for that land fund money,” said Hafen. “There are capital projects out there that I think need to be taken a look at.”

Hafen said his biggest concern is focusing on projects that will bring jobs to the city.

“I think the overriding thing about the space and science center and that land fund is what’s best to do for the city of Henderson.”

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