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Fort Smith Board Supports Sales Tax For US Marshals Museum

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — A city board in western Arkansas has decided to support a temporary sales tax to help finance a museum for the U.S. Marshals Service, which museum officials said will help revitalize the area.

The Fort Smith Central Business Improvement District Board on Tuesday endorsed a 1-cent sales tax, The Southwest Times Record reported.

The tax would support the U.S. Marshals Museum and be in effect from July 2019 to March 2020. Residents will vote on the issue during a special election in March.

The foundation has received more than $35 million in cash and land donations so far, but about $16 million more is needed to complete exhibits, Dunn said.

“We realize in the special election that we might have an uphill battle, but that’s OK,” Dunn said. “The U.S. Marshals are kind of the underdog of law enforcement on the federal level.”

Dunn noted that the foundation doesn’t plan to ask for an extension or renewal once the nine-month tax is complete.

If the tax doesn’t pass, the foundation will either need to keep fundraising until enough money is raised or open a scaled-back version of the facility, which museum officials fear may not attract as many visitors, Dunn said.

The museum aims to improve civic literacy and promote “the Constitution, rule of law and law enforcement,” Dunn said. The project will be a “keystone” to Fort Smith’s future and the revitalization of downtown, he said.

The museum has been in the works for nearly a decade and is scheduled to open next summer, Dunn said.

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