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Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lawrence Arts Center wants to acquire Salvation Army property for new outdoor performance space

June 13, 2012

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Lawrence Arts Center director Susan Tate and Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm talk about plans to acquire the property owned by The Salvation Army at 10th and New Hampshire streets. The center wants to raze the building and create an outdoor space for art and performances.

Lawrence Arts Center director Susan Tate and Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm talk about plans to acquire the property owned by The Salvation Army at 10th and New Hampshire streets. The center wants to raze the building and create an outdoor space for art and performances.

The Lawrence Arts Center, left, and The Salvation Army building, right, share the block of New Hampshire Street between Ninth and 10th streets. The Arts Center would like to acquire The Salvation Army property to use as an outdoor arts and performance space.

The Lawrence Arts Center, left, and The Salvation Army building, right, share the block of New Hampshire Street between Ninth and 10th streets. The Arts Center would like to acquire The Salvation Army property to use as an outdoor arts and performance space.

The Lawrence Arts Center wants to buy and raze the downtown Salvation Army building to make way for new outdoor arts and performance space.

Arts leaders are seeking about $1 million in city funding to make the project happen.

“We’re imagining a space that is open and green and alive for creativity,” said Susan Tate, executive director of the Arts Center.

Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm said the city is close to finalizing “a right of first refusal” that would put the city in position to purchase The Salvation Army building at 946 N.H. A deal hasn’t been struck, but Schumm thinks the city can purchase the property for about $1 million. But the sale would be contingent upon The Salvation Army raising about $4 million to move its operations to property it has long owned near Haskell Avenue between 15th and 19th streets.

In an interesting twist, the outdoor arts space also may be contingent upon two large multistory building projects winning City Commission approval. Schumm said the city is proposing to pay for the project by creating a new tax increment financing district that would encompass a proposed multistory hotel/retail building at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire and a multistory apartment/office building at the northeast corner of the intersection.

The TIF district would capture property and sales tax revenue generated from the projects and place it in a special fund. The fund would be used to pay for a host of site improvements, including the $1 million purchase of the building. The TIF revenues also would be used to pay for private parking garages for both the hotel and apartment buildings; plus, the district would help pay off the existing city-owned parking garage in the 900 block of New Hampshire, Schumm said.

As for the new arts space, Tate said the Arts Center could use the approximately 18,000-square-foot space for outdoor art exhibits, films, children’s programming and community events. The space likely could accommodate a few hundred people, Tate estimated.

For a period, the site largely would be undeveloped. Tate said eventually the Arts Center could undertake a $3 million campaign to build a small building and other amenities. But Tate said most of the site would remain open.

A time estimate for when the outdoor arts space could move forward is uncertain, both Schumm and Tate said. Susan Schneweis, chairwoman of the local advisory board for The Salvation Army, said it likely would take at least two years for The Salvation Army to raise the necessary funds it needs to build a new facility in east Lawrence.

Schneweis said The Salvation Army is envisioning an east Lawrence center that would allow The Salvation Army to continue its current programs, including an on-site meal program, a food pantry and several social service programs. The Salvation Army no longer operates a homeless shelter, and would not operate one at the new location. But Schneweis said board members hope the new project would include some transitional housing for low-income families or people who are transitioning out of homelessness.

The $1 million request for city funding comes at a time when city officials are facing several large financial decisions. Commissioners are contemplating spending more than $15 million for a regional recreation complex in northwest Lawrence, about $30 million for a new police headquarters and additional funding for the operation of the Lawrence Public Library, which is undergoing a voter-approved $19 million expansion.

Schumm said the city does have some funding pressures at the moment, but he thinks residents are interested in improving the arts venues in the community.

“I think the community is going to be really supportive of the project,” Schumm said.

Comments

patkindle 1 year, 10 months ago

tax the fat cats spend the money as long as it isnt yours who cares, spend spend spend other peoples money it is the lawrence way

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thuja 1 year, 10 months ago

Miss Tate seems to like wearing that black dress when the paper comes around.

I am not complaining.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

BTW LJWorld staff, there is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Douglas County that you haven't posted. KTHXBAI

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

File:Skeletor-spoo.jpg

File:Skeletor-spoo.jpg

Shoomie

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

How's about a Fat Tire Amber Ale. Now!!!!!!! Drink it or else.

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irvan moore 1 year, 10 months ago

another move by the city commission to run the homless population out of downtown and into the neighborhoods

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Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

No more right now. We have enough venues and not enough dollars.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

Schumm said the city does have some funding pressures at the moment, but he thinks residents are interested in improving the arts venues in the community. ++++++++++++++++++++++++ No one contacted me... did your phone ring or someone knock on your door?

Lets raise the water prices again to fund this pig in a poke. It will be just like the rest of the projects, ask for the facilities...then come back and ask for the funding to support the staff and logistics.

If they can raise $3 million from the supporters, then why can't the whole project be funded and operated on donations?

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d_prowess 1 year, 10 months ago

Wonder what the neighbors think about this. They opposed the building down the block because it was too high, but this project could be loud with performances and such. Can't wait to find out their stance on this!

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Phil Minkin 1 year, 10 months ago

"In an interesting twist, the outdoor arts space also may be contingent upon two large multistory building projects winning City Commission approval. Schumm said the city is proposing to pay for the project by creating a new tax increment financing district that would encompass a proposed multistory hotel/retail building at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire and a multistory apartment/office building at the northeast corner of the intersection"

I see this as a ploy to get support for the 2 projects by linking the art center expansion, which could have wide support, with the successful approval of the those unpopular projects. Until I see a real need for the expansion, nothing will be done for several years, I say NO SALE.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

For outdoor events, they'll have to coordinate with Replay on sharing the "sonic" space.

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mikekt 1 year, 10 months ago

God bless the Arts Center & The Salvation Army;... but times are tough & i think that $7,000,000 would be better spent on the obvious immediate needs of the poor, the unemployed & their kids, etc.. than to embark on some grand building plan costing 7M before, it delivers one dollar of services to anyone. Some part of 7M buys allot of housing & utility assistance, heath & dental care,.... today If it were me, i'd try a non profit buy out of the hotel developers at a reasonable cost ( who want to build next to the arts center ) - no building to tear down & they could make a profit on their land & be gone to irritate the neighbors, elsewhere, with their plans to build.... whatever. It's not cast in stone that they can get their building plans approved & if they don't they might be thrilled to just leave after recouping their costs of land, time & failed planing efforts? Is that a win-win,... for all?!.... except for the neighbors elsewhere! This TIF thing is rather risky business & nebulous to me because they ( TIFS ) don't always pay off their obligations as well as expected ( or as deliberately or accidentally advertised to the public, to perform ) , which could leave the fair citizens of Lawrence, Ks. to make up any yearly shortfalls of income ( as payments to be made on borrowed funds ) for years to come. I assume that these TIFS are taxpayer guaranteed debt payments, as they often are elsewhere. And who is the fallback guy, if the Hotel goes belly up financially in operation & ends up frozen in the bankruptcy courts? Can the City recover their debt payment investments with a set interest penalty, if the TIFS revenues underperform & they are forced to step up? or be compensated thru the proceeds of a sale of a property to another? And what would the Cities standing be in a bankruptcy court? Could i buy a bankrupt hotel for one dollar & leave the city out of the amount of any TIF payments that they have already paid out? Can those disappear in bankruptcy? I assume that a hotel could be sold, the money goes to wherever without the City having a lean on the sale, for any TIF payments made, due to shortfalls of TIFs income? I think that KCMO spent 12M on one underperforming TIFs payments to creditors this year & if the developers sell & go elsewhere, KCMO gets nothing but a perpetual underpayment till whenever, that they must fill in with cash & interest, yearly. The City of Lawrence should clearly spell out the terms of any TIF so that the public understands how it works in a worst case scenario & what services they plan to not fund if they end up having to step up on a TIF debt repayment shortfall.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

Pepperjax is already moving to Mass. Street!

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

I know one place that would love to see the Salvation Army move. Pepperjax.

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none2 1 year, 10 months ago

It is good to know the economy is back to normal and thus the government now has money to burn!

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none2 1 year, 10 months ago

It is good to know the economy is back to normal and thus the government now has money to burn!

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 10 months ago

Where to start....what are the odds A) we help the Salvation Army with the 4M to move, and B) we help the Arts Center raise the 3M. Plus, anytime I see the letters "TIF" makes me mad . And I see Schumm is only against TIF money when it's another restaurant, not public buildings.

And one last rant, the Library does not count as "undergoing" expansion yet until they actually start building the thing. I know I started paying for it the first of the year.

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