The multimillion dollar science and technology center known as Questplex planned for downtown Montgomery will not happen, at least not as originally envisioned. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says the city won't receive some of the tax credits it expected, and he says that leaves too big a funding gap to fill.
At a press briefing, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said the city won't get the $8 million it expected from federal new market tax credits. It will get just half that. He said city officials looked into bank loans to make up the difference. That would require a city-guaranteed financing agreement, requiring montgomery to pay $950,000 a year for 20 years. He says that was too big a burden to bear, and he says scaling back the Questplex plans wasn't an option.
"The minute you start whittling down, you're whittling technology. and that's what the whole project is. It's technology," Strange said.
The Children's Museum of Alabama and the Montgomery Library were supposed to move into Questplex. Now they're in limbo.
"Once the new market tax credits came back and were found to be half what they thought they would be, we were all disappointed, and we realized it wouldn't be fiscally viable for us to stay around and do that, and we thought it would be a hardship on everybody to really make it work," said Museum Board Member Bo Jinright.
"The board is disappointed about what's developed, but we're fully aware of the circumstances. Therefore, we're going to have to make a new direction for ourselves in terms of developing a library of the future," said Montgomery Library Board President Thomas McPherson.
Children's Museum leaders say they are looking for a new location for a technology and science center for children. Library leaders, on the other hand, say they could still move to 1 Dexter Plaza, if there's enough room for what they plan to do.
City leaders say the Central Alabama Community Foundation received pledges of about $3 million for the project out of its $5 million fundraising goal.That includes half a million dollars in cash. They're giving the cash donors the chance to get a refund or donate to another nonprofit organization.