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Carnegie lease vote continued

Carnegie lease vote continued

The Turlock City Council will hold an open discussion on topics originally held in closed sessions on the rebuilding of the Carnegie Arts Center.


POSTED September 23, 2009 12:49 a.m.
The motion to accept a lease agreement with the nonprofit Carnegie Arts Center Foundation to run the Carnegie Arts Center was neither approved or denied by the City Council Tuesday night.
Instead, the City Council voted to open a discussion previously held in closed sessions and hear a public presentation from the foundation on Oct. 13 and then come back for a vote at the next City Council meeting.
The City Council was presented with a lease agreement from the foundation and was expected to vote on moving forward with the project or denying the lease. But when the mood of the council seemed to be swaying in the direction of denying the lease request, a motion was made by Councilwoman Mary Jackson to give the project more time and an opportunity for the public to hear the terms that had previously been discussed in closed sessions.
The key sticking point is the money. The council set out a list of requirements for the foundation to meet if they were going to grant them the lease. Among them was that $600,000 of the foundation’s donated funds, which is nearly all of their bankroll, be used for the planning, design, and construction of the Carnegie.
“There was support for the project in closed session, but a clear direction was also given and the terms in that lease agreement were not met,” said Councilman Kurt Spycher.
The lease agreement that the foundation came back with deletes that provision because they said it would be unfeasible to operate and maintain the nonprofit arts center without enough starting cash.
“We cannot give up that money and still operate the center,” said Jeani Ferrari, vice chair of the foundation. “We can’t go out and fundraise in this economic climate.”
In August the City Council rejected all construction bids that had come in because of multiple protests.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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