Freedom Center Lets 17 People Go

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is suffering from a poor economy and continuing financial trouble.

The center announced today that they will be laying off 17 full-time employees, by the end of the year, leaving a staff of 47.

The museum will also no longer be open on Sundays.

Last year, the Freedom Center was caught up in a battle at City Hall when Councilman Chris Monzel attempted to redirect a proposal to give the center $800,000 to pay for speed humps.

At the time this sum was delivered, a $25 million debt remained for the $110 million construction of the center.

The museum has been criticized by state and local officials for requesting public funds after Freedom Center President Ed Rigaud said the center wouldn’t ask for additional public money to balance its books, even after projected and actual attendance numbers dropped dramatically.

Attendance at the center peaked in its first full year open in 2005 at just over 200,000. The numbers have been falling ever since.

For Christmas, the Freedom Center might want to ask for financial independence.

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