Remodel needed to open Native American art museum
FARMINGTON — About three years after a property on the corner of Behrend Avenue and Main Street was donated to the city of Farmington, the city is only steps away from opening the building as part of its museum system.
The former Foutz Indian Room, 301 W. Main St., was donated to the city in 2013 to become a new Native American art museum. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency — which oversees development in an area of Farmington that includes downtown — is recommending the city use $40,000 from the MRA fund to renovate bathrooms at the building to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
City Manager Rob Mayes is scheduled to discuss funding the renovations at a City Council meeting on Tuesday evening.
According to the council agenda, the bathroom remodel is the only remaining item standing in the way of opening the museum. Assistant City Manager Julie Baird said once the building meets code requirements, the museum system will work on preparing exhibits and opening the facility for the public.
The $40,000 would be used to renovate an area on the building's first floor to include two new bathrooms. The current bathrooms are not wheelchair-accessible, Baird said.
If the funding is approved, Baird said it will take at least three months to renovate the bathrooms.
The new museum would display Native American art, which was the building's original purpose.
"We have such wonderful Native American art in the area, both historically and currently," Baird said.
In the 1950s, Russell and Helen Foutz opened the Foutz Indian Room in the building. It displayed Native American art until Russell Foutz's death in 2005, when his daughter, Kathy Foutz, took ownership and Bob Culpepper became her business partner.
In 2013, Kathy Foutz transferred the title to Culpepper, who donated the property to the city.
Baird said the city is anxious to open the museum.
"We hope that it will provide another reason to come downtown," she said.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.