TURLOCK — This time, arts supporters hope they have given City Council members all they need to sign off on a lease agreement for the Carnegie Arts Center.
Council members Tuesday night are again scheduled to consider the agreement with the nonprofit Carnegie Arts Center Foundation. The foundation, originally formed to advise the city on running the center, instead would run it itself.
An earlier vote on the lease agreement was delayed because it did not include $600,000 from the foundation to go toward building costs. Foundation members had wanted to keep that money for an operating endowment after bids came in at far less than the $7 million the city estimated. But last week, the foundation board agreed to put the money into the construction pot.
Foundation President Patty O'Donnell said raising more money for the endowment will be a challenge in a tough economy, but her group believes the community will support the project. And she's hopeful its reopening will play a part in improving the local economy.
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"Look at all the public forums, the attendance at the meetings, the general public that came forward to speak about the importance of the project," she said. "Economically, socially, culturally, we need this center."
Mayor John Lazar, who sat on the council subcommittee that negotiated with the foundation, said he is hopeful the new agreement will be accepted.
Council members were adamant that the rebuilding and operation of the Carnegie not require any general fund money.
The foundation got more good news last week when the arts center, heavily damaged in a 2005 arson fire, remained on a list of projects to be funded with city redevelopment money. The City Council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency, will consider the list at its Nov. 10 meeting.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.