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Fayetteville Museum Struggling To Make Payments

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — It does not cost a dime to get into the

Airborne and Special Operations Museum

in Fayetteville, but some people say maybe it should, because officials say the museum owes the city millions of dollars.

Former Green Beret Steve Warren and his wife are visiting the Airborne and Special Operations Museum from western North Carolina. They are just some of nearly 500,000 people who have come to the museum since it opened two years ago.

"I'm very impressed. It has a lot of history. It's very authentic," Warren said.

"For a museum our size, the staff, square footage, we do as well or better than any other museum out there," marketing manager Patrick Tremblay said.

The museum owes the city $5 million it borrowed for construction, and the museum cannot afford to make an $800,000 payment that is due now.

City Manager Roger Stancil said he thinks the museum should pay the money back. Stancil knows the museum has helped the local economy, city image and the downtown. As a compromise, he will ask the City Council Monday to approve a $50,000 good faith payment from the museum.

"Our main interest is for the museum to succeed, and we don't want to do anything to disrupt it," Stancil said.

Stancil will also ask for permission to renegotiate a more realistic payment plan. The museum has already raised over $400,000 to repay construction costs. A member of the board of directors said the board is continuously trying to raise more.

Tremblay said charging admission is not an option. Since it is an Army museum, he says what is inside belongs to the people, and they should not have to pay to see it.


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