4:46AM May 21, 2021
First, I am today announcing agreement with a recommendation to dedicate this great old building to serve the arts for the next five years. [applause] Managed either by the city or a selected management organization, as the task force said, this will "allow arts organizations utilizing the facility a secure opportunity to rebuild operation revenue post pandemic." Second, I'm following the recommendation as well to invest as soon as possible what is needed in capital investments to bring the building into code compliance and to make it safe and usable, which we estimate at around $515,000 to be invested quickly in the coming months. [applause] Third, I'm announcing today for all to hear, and use for planning, that we plan to reopen the Waldron to the public by Monday, January 3, 2022. I will also say we will provide earlier access to those who want to put on a show [???]. Anyway, next, again, following the recommendations, we will issue a request for information RFI to elicit third party management proposals for the Waldron to consider alongside one already received we plan to release the RFI very promptly, no later than July. Next, again, following the recommendation, we do intend to commission a third party study on a potential future arts facility to be built within the downtown region to help us determine the type, size, location and cost for such a potential facility. We plan to commence that study by this summer. Next aword about the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It, too, needs investments. It's approaching its centennial, by the way, you may know, next year and I will be asking for capital funds from the city council to invest in long term maintenance of that building as wel,l and may be involved in third-party management along with the Waldron. Next, just a couple more... Next I will work with city council to consider the proposal of a new quasi-public corporate entity, something like mentioned, a cultural improvement corporation or capital improvement board to oversee and manage public properties like the Waldron, the Buskirk and perhaps others in coming months. And finally, as part of funding requests in the coming weeks from the critically important American Rescue Plan Act and our city budget, I will be asking the City Council for significant new investment in economic recovery grants for impacted arts groups, artists, related organizations in our community. [applause] These can include allocations to be made toward theWaldron and Buskirk, both in capital improvements and equipment needs or upgrades to ensure accessibility, equity and use for all groups, from volunteer to professional, as well as open to the wider community for recovery needs. I will work with city council and others to develop the detailed details in the coming weeks.