When Mayor Villaraigosa told Angelenos, “Moving the Endeavour will be a marvel of wonder and ingenuity,” he wasn't kidding. And all that ingenuity — and jet fuel, and tree trimming, and overtime paid to police and engineers — didn't come cheap.
Back in 2011, the California Science Center began a $200 million campaign to offset the cost of transporting and housing its new spaceship.
So far, it has raised only…
Hold on. So, it flew the shuttle here, dragged it all over town, but the Science Center doesn't have the money to actually display it — AND IS JUST TELLING US NOW?
It turns out, even counting the $15 million raised with the help of several foundations, and about $1 million apiece donated by companies including AEG, Time Warner Cable and Toyota, the Science Center has raised only about $100 million — half of what it needs — since the fundraising campaign was announced last year.
Yesterday, AEG president Tim Leiweke made an appeal to Los Angeles business leaders to support the center.
The reality is that without the private sector stepping up to contribute both financially and in other ways, there is no way that Endeavour, a true national treasure, could come to Los Angeles and the California Science Center. The Science Center prevailed in securing this national treasure for our community.
Now it is the responsibility of local organizations to invest in our city, invest in our children, invest in important institutions and be accountable for bringing these opportunities to our community. The true payoff for all of our investment is the educational opportunities Endeavour will create and the economic impact these programs will bring to so many sectors in our city.
Endeavour will go on display starting Oct. 30, but only in a temporary shelter until CSC is able to finish construction on the shuttle's permanent home. (California Science Center members can catch a sneak peek of the shuttle Oct. 26-28.)
Endeavour fans with money to burn can sponsor one of the shuttle's thermal tiles for a cool $1,000.
On its website, the Science Center is asking poorer supporters to raise money by turning their Twitter feeds into an advertisement for Toyota — for which the car company will give the Science Center $50 per tweet.
Better get tweeting, people! You've got $100 million to raise.