Treasure It Together: Southwest Museum Site National Trust Planning Process FAQ

The following questions have come up in public meetings or in conversations about the National Trust’s planning process for the Southwest Museum Site.

Q: What is the National Trust doing for the Southwest Museum Site?

A: The National Trust is serving as a neutral facilitator to manage a four-phased planning process that includes public outreach and the development of a market and reuse assessment and a business plan for the Southwest Museum Site. A 15-member Steering Committee has been created to help shape recommendations during each phase of the planning process, and the Steering Committee’s recommendations at each stage will be forwarded to the board of the Autry. There also are opportunities for public input in person or online at each phase of the planning process.

Q: How is this planning process different from what’s been tried before?

A: This process is different because the National Trust is involved as an outside, neutral facilitator to convene stakeholders from the Autry, the surrounding community, and many other interested entities in Los Angeles to work collaboratively towards a shared vision for the Southwest Museum Site. While past efforts have focused primarily on the issue of whether or not continued use as a museum is viable at the site, this process will focus on finding ways to revitalize the site that balance numerous stakeholder desires and priorities with issues of financial feasibility and sustainable stewardship.

Q: Who will make the final decision about what happens at the Southwest Museum Site?

A: As the owner of the building, the Board of Trustees of the Autry Museum of the American West (Autry), will make the final decision on recommendations emerging from this planning process. A representative from the Autry’s board and a member of the Autry staff serve on the Steering Committee, and will bring recommendations from the National Trust and the Steering Committee to the board of the Autry throughout the planning process to ensure that they are fully informed and engaged in the options being explored.

Q: How long will this planning process take?

A: The National Trust announced the Southwest Museum Site as a National Treasure in January of 2015. This is very complex and challenging task, and we estimated that our planning work could take two years to complete. We have expanded some components of our work and encountered some delays, and we are now estimating that our planning process will be completed in 2017.

Q: Is information about this planning effort available in both English and Spanish?

A: While the Stakeholder Interview Summary Report is not available in Spanish, all sections of the National Treasure website offer options for Spanish translations. The new version of the TreasureSWM.org website now allows for the text to be translated into several languages of the readers choosing using Google translate.

Q: Who is on the Steering Committee?

A: A complete list of the 15 Steering Committee members is available on this website, including those members who also serve on the Executive Committee.

Q: How was the Steering Committee selected?

A: The 15 members of the Steering Committee includes 2 representatives from the Autry (chosen by the Autry), 2 community representatives from the NE Los Angeles neighborhoods surrounding the site (chosen by the community), and 11 at-large representatives. At-large representatives include elected officials, representatives from academic institutions, and professionals with expertise in areas such as historic preservation, museums, philanthropy, arts and culture, cultural affairs, education and academics, economic development, Native American culture, Latino culture, parks and public lands, city planning, land use, business development and community development. Suggestions for at-large steering committee members were solicited during the stakeholder interviews and we reviewed nearly 80 candidates. At-large members were selected by the National Trust to ensure that the committee included a broad and high level of professional expertise in the areas listed above as well as including visionary and open minded leaders who are consensus builders and strategic thinkers.

Q: What is the role of the Steering Committee for this planning process?

A: The Steering Committee will play a pivotal role in the planning process by critically assessing the data from the stakeholder interview report and many other sources, developing informed recommendations, and guiding the creation of a financially sustainable business model. The Steering Committee’s recommendations will be presented to the Board of the site’s owner, the Autry.

Q: How can we learn more or get involved as this planning process moves forward?

A: The National Trust welcomes and encourages public involvement in the planning process. This National Treasure website includes information about what has been done and where we are in the planning process, and we encourage you to sign up for updates on the website to stay informed of activities, upcoming events and opportunities. Carol Teutsch and Frank Parello, the two community representatives on the Steering Committee, have set up a dedicated email at swmcommunity@gmail.com to share and receive comments, concerns and thoughts from other community members. There will be additional public meetings in 2016 and 2017 to share information and create opportunities to provide input.

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