A way to fund Gainesville’s proposed Medal of Honor Museum that was written into House Bill 4347 was nixed last-minute before the bill was sent to the governor’s desk, officials say.
Medal of Honor Host City Program Board President Tommy Moore said he received a call with the news from State Rep. Drew Springer’s office on Friday, June 21.
The funding for the museum was stripped from the bill during a Senate conference, according to the nonprofit organization.
“I was very disappointed of course; however, we must press forward,” Moore said. “We will regroup with the city [of Gainesville] and [North Central Texas College] to figure out our next move.”
Jonathan Mathers, chief of staff for Springer, R-Muenster, said the office did not realize there was a “sub in the Senate” and the only item removed from the bill was Springer’s.
“Somebody, somewhere, was able to slip that out of the bill,” Mathers said during a telephone interview Tuesday, June 25. “We just don’t know how.”
Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 4347 into law on June 14, according to the Texas Legislature Online History website.
The legislation placed the debt for building the museum on the city of Gainesville, according to Moore. The state would have reimbursed the city for 10 years.
Springer’s item in the bill would’ve allowed hotel tax receipts to be eligible to pay off building bonds for the proposed Medal of Honor Museum, Mathers previously said.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Mathers told the Register. “We will be making its own separate bill and presenting it next session.”
In a news release issued by the MOHHCP, Moore stated the organization worked with Springer and State Sen. Pat Fallon, R-Prosper, to secure the museum’s funding during the 86th Legislative session.
Attempts to reach Fallon’s office were unsuccessful as of press time.
Gainesville is the nation’s only Medal of Honor Host City.
The planned 8,850-square-foot facility on the NCTC Gainesville campus is projected to cost approximately $5 million, according to information provided by Moore.
Prior to the legislation, there was about $750,000 committed to the museum in addition to the estimated $28,000 the MOHHCP had set aside in an account, Moore said.
“We are still raising money and looking for grants for the museum,” Moore told the Register. “While the legislation would have built the building, there are still displays and museum content to collect money for.”
Anyone interested in making a donation can visit the program’s website at https://medalofhonorhostcity.com/ and click on the donate button. Checks should be made payable to the Medal of Honor Host City Program with the MOH Museum listed in the memo, Moore said. Checks and money orders can be mailed to P.O. Box 492 Gainesville, TX 76241.
“We have a lot of energy and support for this museum,” Moore said. “This was just a bump in the road. We look forward with [to] sharing our next steps with everyone as we make plans to accomplish this goal.”