Snowstorms, move to freeze funds don’t deter Barnes

Even though Philadelphia went into a deep freeze for about two months, it didn’t slow down construction of the Barnes Museum. Not much, anyway.

“We really try not to stop for anything,” said Jack Garrett, senior superintendent with the construction company, LF Driscoll Co. “We lost four hours one day due to the snow.”

The walls are up, the roof is on, and most of the windows are already installed.

“Nice wooden finish on the window,” said Barnes spokesman Andrew Stewart while feeling the panes. “It will retain the feeling of someone’s home. Nice warm finishes and a small intimate space.”

Under Gov. Ed Rendell, the state of Pennsylvania promised $47 million to the Barnes Foundation. Rep. Jim Gerlach has asked the newly elected Gov. Tom Corbett to rescind that money.

In a letter to Corbett, Gerlach said it was “wrong-headed” to “compel current and future generations of Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay off the debt incurred for the unnecessary Barnes relocation project.”

When he was the state attorney general, Corbett did not try to block the relocation project. Corbett has not replied to phone messages.

If he should rescind the money, it will be difficult to get the lion’s share back — so far Pennsylvania has released $36 million to the Barnes. The remaining $11 million is being processed for distribution.

Total construction costs are expected to be $150 million. Stewart said construction is on schedule to be complete by May 2012.

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