The Dali: One-of-a-kind cultural attraction in Pinellas?
ST. PETERSBURG -- In their bid to get $5 million in tourist development money, representatives for the Salvador Dali Museum will make a case that no other Pinellas County cultural institution comes close to matching the museum's impact.
"The Dali is not just a cultural attraction for the community," said Tim Bogott, a trustee of the Dali board and chief executive of the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach. "It's the cultural attraction."
Bogott, museum director Hank Hine and museum director of development Marcia Crawley met Wednesday with the editorial board of the St. Petersburg Times to explain how they were asking the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council for money that they say the museum needs to complete a new building on the St. Petersburg waterfront.
Hine said the state allows use of tourist develoment dollars for capital improvements of cultural facilities. When the county adopted its plan for spending tourist development money, it concentrated on building facilities for baseball teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. But unlike the state, the county didn't allow the money to be spent on cultural facilities, Hine said.
To remedy that, the museum wants to change what qualifies for the 5 percent tax on hotel stays. That would require five of seven Pinellas County commissioners to approve expanding what could qualify for financing. Commissioner Karen Seel has instructed the staff to propose language that would allow the county to spend the development money on the Dali building, but not much else related to cultural institutions.
Asked what other Pinellas cultural institutions would think of the Dali's claim that it's No. 1, Hine replied: "I think they would agree with that."
For an earlier story about the museum's efforts to raise money, check this out: http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/tourism/pinellas-tourism-panel-wants-more-time-to-study-dali-museum-funding-request/106516
Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer