$350,000 Infusion Can't Save the YouZeum
COLUMBIA - Despite an infusion of $350,000 the YouZeum went out of business.
The interactive health museum closed Saturday, Oct. 16 after less than two years in operation due to low attendance.
Over the two years it was open, the Convention and Visitors Bureau gave YouZeum two grants, one for $200,000 and one for $150,000. This money was in the attraction development fund, and came from a lodging tax paid by guests at Columbia hotels and motels. Officials with the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau say the money had to be used for supporting an attraction, and since no one else applied the YouZeum got the money.
Convention and Visitor's Bureau executive director Lorah Steiner said, "This is a competitive process, so applications come to the convention and visitor's advisory board and they're reviewed. And the board makes a recommendation to city council and the city council makes the appropriation. So, to ask the question whether or not it would have gone to someone else? Only if an application came to us."
In the past, grants from this fund have gone to Jefferson Farms and the Missouri Theatre.
Steiner said, "I know for Jefferson Farms their federal funding dried up, so that funding stream is very important to the success of that attraction and they lost it. For attractions like the Missouri Theatre, donations dried up. People were just trying to make it through the day."
Steiner says the attractions in Columbia are struggling because of the recession.