What Will The Future Hold For The American Jazz Museum?

By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

On Thursday, Oct. 19, City Councilman Jermaine Reed introduced City Ordinance 170856 which provides certain assets be transferred from the control of the American Jazz museum to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation department effective May 1, 2018.

The Jazz museum currently leases and manages certain City assets including, without limitation, the American Jazz museum, the Blue Room, the Horace Peterson III 18th and Vine Visitor center, the tenant space for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Gem theater.

The agreement and lease is set to expire on April 30, 2018.
On Wednesday, Oct. 25, Councilmen Reed in follow-up to his memorandum submitted on Monday, October 16, to the American Jazz Museum Board of Directors as well as other key stakeholders. Council member Reed’s initial memo outlined the “Reed Plan” to move forward concerning the Preservation and Advancement of the American Jazz Museum.

Council member Reed provided his testimony to the Finance Committee in support of his Ordinance No. 170856 regarding the American Jazz museum (AJM).

The ordinance went before the full City Council during its Legislative meeting on Thursday, October 26, where it passed unanimously, with Third District At-Large Council member Quinton Lucas and First District At-Large Council member Scott Wagner as co-sponsors. The ordinance puts forth for the Council’s consideration the following items:

• Appropriation of $225,000 of the City’s General Fund to fund the ongoing operations of the American Jazz Museum through the end of their contract on April 30, 2018
• Direction to the City Manager with respect to the existing contractual relationship with the American Jazz Museum, Inc., an independent nonprofit organization that currently leases and manages certain City assets including the American Jazz Museum, the Blue Room, the Horace Peterson III 18th and Vine Visitor center, the tenant space for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the Gem theater.
• Direction to conduct an organizational assessment in a period of discovery and preliminary planning with respect to the ongoing management of these City-owned assets from and after May 1, 2018.

“By taking the time to complete this organizational assessment, we will be preparing for the strategic and business planning that is to come,” Councilman Reed said.

“For both phases, we can engage strategically with nationally known museum professionals – who can then lead us in a process that will honor the real history of 18th and Vine by engaging artists, musicians, historians, and cultural planners,” Councilman Reed stated.