Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

April 17, 2014

Mentz Hotel will be BRIM-less for now

GLASGOW — Officials with the Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science have terminated the museum’s lease with the city of Park City, but the parties plan to enter into a new agreement.

BRIMS had contracted with the city of Park City in October 2012 and were rehabilitating the historic Mentz Hotel, with city officials’ help, so it could be used as a location for the museum. The original plan was for the museum to occupy four rooms of the Mentz.

 The lease for one year and was renewable upon agreement by both parties.

Liz Thomas-Hook, executive director of BRIMS, said she was approached by a couple who were interested in opening a bed and breakfast in the historic hotel while volunteers were rehabilitating the building. The thought was that having both the museum and the bed breakfast being in the same building would be a financial boost. Western Kentucky University got involved and began advising both parties through the process, she said.

Because others joined in the effort to turn the hotel into a venue for both a bed and breakfast and BRIMS, the original lease between the museum and the city was limiting, Hook said. She approached Park City commissioners earlier this month about terminating the lease agreement.

 “It will eventually be replaced with a new one,” Thomas-Hook said.  

The Park City City Commission adopted a resolution last week dissolving the city’s contract with the museum.  

Plans call for using the Mentz as a venue for events and for providing a student learning component, as well as using the hotel as a bed and breakfast and location for the museum.

“The success of these plans will hinge on funding sources, which right now we are researching those options,” Thomas-Hook said.

If the committee can secure the necessary funding to rehabilitate the hotel, various departments at WKU could send students in programs such as restaurant management, folk studies and engineering there for internships, she said.

“There will be some form of BRIMS, just not in the form that we started,” Thomas-Hook said. “What we are aiming for is a better fit with the history of that building and it would most likely be an age appropriate type of exhibit.”

By age-appropriate, Thomas-Hook said she means an approach that would better fit the Victorian era when the Mentz was first built. Other exhibits the museum has had in the hotel have been more modern, she said.

“We’re still in the planning stages, but we are up to a point that we are looking at numbers and trying to find out how much it will take to restore the building and to operate it,” she said.

She expects the committee to begin working with the city on a new contract within a couple of months.

 BRIMS eventually relocated to the Mentz after leaving a building it had occupied for years on Center Street in Bowling Green. The Center Street structure had a leaky roof, which museum officials could not afford to repair.

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