NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The organization that runs New Bedford’s Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Military Museum and Veterans Memorial is seeking to clarify some of the misconceptions that have been floating around after the New Bedford City Council advocated on its behalf at a recent meeting.

A motion was filed by Councilors Joe Lopes, Brian Gomes, Ryan Pereira and Linda Morad at the May 23 council meeting requesting that the Mitchell Administration, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Beaches and the New Bedford Park Board “waive in its entirety the proposed yearly rental fee to the Fort Taber/Fort Rodman Historical Association Inc., for The Fort Taber/Fort Rodman Military Museum.”

The motion passed unanimously.

During the meeting, Councilor Lopes argued that the association only brings in about $5,000 to $6,000 a year in memberships and donations while operating expenses hover around $14,000 per year.

WBSM later reported that the rental agreement between the City of New Bedford and the Historical Association already calls for it to be waived.

READ MORE: New Bedford City Council Decries Military Museum Rental Agreement

However, Historical Association President Bill Neidzwiedz later told WBSM he wants the language regarding a $32,000 rental payment removed from the agreement, even if there is language that says it will be waived in lieu of the services the association provides in running the Military Museum.

“So this $32,000 is still hanging over our heads,” he said. “Maybe this administration won’t charge us, but that’s not to say another administration won’t. We need to get it out of there so it isn’t a dagger over our hearts.”

“I just don’t want that dagger hanging over the museum's heart that somebody can come and destroy what we worked for the last 20 years,” he said.

Niedzwiedz also told WBSM he would like to see the language regarding 30 days to vacate if evicted also removed from the agreement, and that he would like to see a five-year or 10-year lease as opposed to a year-to-year one.

“The museum needs to have more (long-term) security so it won’t have problems in the future,” he said.

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On Sunday, June 2, Niedzwiedz posted to the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Military Museum Facebook group to clarify some of the “misstated” information about the association’s finances.

“Some of the quotes that we are operating in a deficit are incorrect,” he wrote. “Yes, we do have bills that total about 14,000 to 16,000 dollars a year. The false part is that we are not getting enough to pay them.”

“Due to the generosity of our Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Historical Assoc. members and the visitors’ donations at the door, we do pay all our bills and we usually have a few thousand dollars left over that we put away in case we have any unexpected expenses and to upgrade the displays at the museum,” he wrote.

WBSM has been provided documents that show the museum indeed has raised more than the cost of its operations going back to at least 2017.

“Please do not feel that the items that have been put on loan and donated are in danger,” Niedzwiedz wrote.

He said the best way to support the Military Museum and the Historical Association is to become a member for just $10 a year (or that you can actually donate any amount you’d like). Donations can also be made in person at the museum.

“You can feel assured that the museum is operating in good standing and there is no need to worry,” he wrote. “I hope that everyone continues to support the museum and thank all that do.”

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Gallery Credit: Katelyn Leboff

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