No City Funding For Creativity Center | WGLT

No City Funding For Creativity Center

Oct 18, 2016

A proposal to phase-in upgrades to the Creativity Center is receiving support from the Bloomington City Council. However, Aldermen want to use privately-raised money to pay for the project.

Alderman Amelia Buragas said she supports a resolution that says the council supports the Activity Center and will engage in a public-private partnership, but it doesn't commit city funds to it.

"In terms of really making those large, substantial changes to the facility, the expectation is that the private sector and not-for-profits and non-governmental entities will be raising that money and paying the majority, if not all of it," she said.

Buragas said the city may take on a maintenance role for the facility.

About $1 million has been raised by private groups to fund upgrades at the Creativity Center, but they need city approval to move forward. The plan is to use that money for renovations to the roof and to the heating, venting and air conditioning system at the facility. Alderman Kevin Lower suggested that the center could be privatized rather than having to go through the city.

"If we could cut that apron string, and allow you folks to operate on your own as you feel, it seems to me that that would be probably preferable on both sides and easier to deal with," he said. "$1 million would certainly make a nice down payment on a 30-year mortgage."

However, Buragas said government has a vested interest in making sure the community has quality of life and quality of place amenities.

"I also believe that there are some services that our community should offer where the goal is not to maximize profit but to maximize exposure, and arts is one of those areas."

Buragas said the goal is to make sure the Creativity Center is something that benefits everyone in the community by giving people access and helping people become a part of what goes on at the center.

The council could vote on the final resolution as soon as next month, but new design work will have to be done before repairs can be made. A timeline on the design work and the repairs is not clear at this time.