Fresno Met Museum Faces Closure

FRESNO, Calif. The art of Dr. Seuss is expected to be the final exhibit to be shown at the Met. The thought of the Met closing saddened Delia Gutierrez, a third grade teacher from Sheridan Elementary in Orange Cove. Gutierrez explained, "With the community where we come from, some of the parents don't have the financial resources to bring their kids to a place like this."

Met Museum Board President Stewart Randall says only a Christmas miracle in the form of a two-million dollar donation can save the museum. Randall said, "If that does not happen and the Met does not make it we intend to close it in a dignified manner. We want to leave a good taste of the mouth of the community."

Randall expects the Met to remain open until the third week of January when the board meets again. The Met was supposed to be the centerpiece for Fresno's arts and cultural district. The city guaranteed a 15-million dollar bank loan to finish a 28-million dollar renovation.

After the Met defaulted the city of Fresno had to pay off the loan. City Manager Andy Souza says the city is already looking for tenants for the property to recoup money through a federal tax break. Souza said, "Our goal right now in the short term is to keep the building as viable as possible. Keep a good solid public use in there to protect our investment."

The Met hosted a grand re-opening on November 13th, 2008. But Randall said it is now close to becoming the 42nd museum in the U.S. to close in a year. Randall added, "Right now we're kind of taking it for granted. I think years from now we'll look back at this and wonder what happened."

Randall says the Met could sell off artwork to raise money to pay off contractors who remodeled the museum.

Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.