SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Mayor Gavin Newsom and other top city officials gathered Thursday to announce a plan that will keep the city’s Asian Art Museum financially sound. The museum had been on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.

Newsom said the fate and future of the Asian Art Museum is now relatively secure, thanks to this debt restructuring. City Controller Ben Rosenfield said J.P. Morgan Chase is canceling some existing debt, and the city is guaranteeing the new loan.

”It avoids a very real possibility that existed a month ago that we would see disruption of the operation of this civic institution,” said Rosenfield.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said that the museum is an important cultural asset that will now be preserved.

”It’s a tremendously good result that ensures the financial health of the museum for the next several years while the Asian Art museum gets its financial footing back,” said Herrera.

Former Mayor Willie Brown will lead a new civic campaign to raise money.

”It’s very much a part of the economy of this town. It’s very much a part of the history of this town. And it’s very much a part of the life of this town,” said Brown.

The museum houses one of the biggest collections of Asian Art in the country, but low attendance in recent years has taken its toll.

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