Donna museum gets $35,000

DONNA — Donna city leaders approved $35,000 in funding for the Donna Hooks Fletcher Museum during a city council meeting here Tuesday.

The Donna City Council unanimously approved the $35,000 funding request for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as an additional $8,750 for the remainder of this fiscal year after discussing the matter in executive session. Place 4 Councilman Eloy Avila Jr. was not present at the meeting.

“We’re happy to help out the museum,” Mayor Rick Morales said afterward. “They do great work for our city and we encourage everybody — not just from Donna, but around the Valley — to come and visit our museum.”

The mayor added funds are allocated from the city’s hotel/motel tax revenues.

The money will go toward the historical museum’s operational expenses, including paying the salaries of its two part-time employees, as well as utilities and insurance costs, explained Florence Hollembeak, president of the museum board.

Previously, the city had contributed up to $25,000 per year, she said.

Hollembeak said the museum is a vital part of the fabric of Donna. “Every (city) has a history, and based on the history, you make your future plans and what’s happening in the past usually affects the future,” she said. “So, the museum is there to preserve the history so that you know where it started from and how far it’s come and then project the future of what’s gonna happen.”

Mayor Morales agreed, saying he hopes the museum, which allows current visitors to trace the city’s history, will allow future generations to see how the city today is at a pivotal moment in its development.

“It’s amazing when you start seeing the little Donna from back in the day, from back in the 30s, the 40s, the 50s and now here we are,” Morales said. “Fifty years from now, they’re gonna look at our days and say ‘Man, Donna was just on the cusp of exploding … so that’s what I’m hoping for.”