Monday, November 5, 2007

One Way to Waste $3M in New York City

The New York Daily News has a front page story today about a Women's Museum that wasn't. In 2000, then- Governor George Pataki proposed a bit of a pet project: A 10 story world class museum in the heart of Battery Park, Manhattan to celebrate the struggle and achievement of women. His wife, Libby, chaired its development committee.

The proposal quickly gained approval, and an estimate of the museum's total costs was $146M, including $27.5M for artifacts, most of which was supposed to come from private donations.

However, seven years later, the proposed site is vacant, $3M of taxpayer money has been spent, and one artifact (a wagon used for women's suffrage rallies in New York City) was purchased. Despite money spent to drum up private donations, only $22,650 was ever raised. Read the article for the ridiculous things taxpayers bought (Flying board members in from around the country, giving them a daily stipend, putting them up at a fancy hotel... for nothing).

Yesterday, New York pulled the plug on the project. Governor Elliot Spitzer and Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a new school will be built there instead.

According to the News the school is "desperately needed." So the public will see a benefit after all.

As for women's history- maybe the school should be named Susan B. Anthony High. She'd probably have liked that.

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