The GM Foundation has committed a $1 million grant to the Michigan Science Center, formerly known as the Detroit Science Center.
But the center’s board of directors isn’t making any promises on whether the center will open by year’s end.
“A date has not been determined,” Shelly Otenbaker, a senior vice president at Eisbrenner Public Relations and the trustee spokeswoman for the science center board, wrote in an email. “There are a number of factors that need to be reviewed and considered as we look at opening timing.”
The science center’s board plans to meet Monday to discuss both the timing of a reopening and how it would staff a reopened museum, among other things, Otenbaker said.
As reported by Crain’s in February, Ford Motor Co. and Penske Automotive Group Inc. also have reportedly either stepped up with cash or been receptive to assisting the science center.
The plan that Chairman Tom Stephens, who retired from General Motors Co. after 43 years, and others were taking to foundations early this year called for about $4 million to reopen the science center and get it through this year. It’s unclear whether that amount included debt service.
Future operations would be bolstered by about $2.5 million in annual giving that typically comes to the museum each year, sources said at the time.
“The funds/commitments we are gathering are both for operations and repaying Ron Weiser,” Otenbaker said.
Weiser, founder of McKinley Associates Inc. in Ann Arbor and former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and national finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, in June entered into an agreement to acquire the Detroit Science Center’s $6.2 million in debt on its building and a line of credit. He plans to make the science center’s land, building and contents available to the Michigan Science Center, which was incorporated as a new nonprofit in April.
Otenbaker declined to comment on how much the science center has raised so far, but The Detroit News quoted unidentified sources as saying the amount was more than $2.5 million.