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Village Council— Arts group requests space

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At their January 17 meeting, Village Council considered whether they should provide the Yellow Springs Arts Council rent-free space in a Village facility, after hearing a request from an Arts Council representative.

“We’re growing. Our capacity is expanding,” said Joanne Caputo, the new arts and cultural manager of the YSAC. “We’re in the fifth year of our expanded effort to promote all arts in the community.”

The topic was discussion only, with no action taken.

Specifically, the group asked to use the second-floor arts room at John Bryan Community Center as the Arts Council office during business hours. The need is immediate because a recent grant from the Morgan Family Foundation is funding Caputo’s new part-time administrative position, and the group also has an Antioch Student intern funded by a Miller Grant working part time. And at the end of this month, the group’s lease is up for its Oten Gallery location on Xenia Avenue, where it has rented space since 2010.

During the discussion Council member Gerry Simms questioned why the Arts Council, but not other groups, would receive rent-free space from the Village.

“I’m concerned that this is taking space out for one segment of the community without considering others,” he said.

Most Council members expressed support for the Arts Council, which in recent years sponsored the Yellow Springs Experience and Summer in the Springs, events that bring visitors to town.

There is also a precedent for the YSAC using the space, according to Caputo, because until 2008 the group used the Bryan Center arts room space free of charge.

The group is continuing to look for a new gallery space, according to Caputo in an interview last week, and several locations, including the old Dolbeer’s Cleaners, are being considered.

During the Jan. 17 discussion, Council members discussed how well-used the Bryan Center arts room is, and whether there is a better option available for YSAC office space. Cundiff and Caputo were to look at a currently unused third-floor office space.

Caputo also requested Village government support for the YSAC’s application for a National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” federal grant. Council members expressed support, and asked Village staff to prepare a resolution.

In other Council business:

• Council approved 4–1 the sale of Village-owned land for $1 to the owners of MillWorks, who had requested the transfer of a strip of property adjacent to the bike path and the MillWorks facility so that they could upgrade the building’s loading docks. In conjunction with the transfer, Council approved 3–2 the first reading of an ordinance that authorizes the payment of $2,300 from the Village Revolving Economic Development Fund to the Greene County bike path Trail Maintenance Fund to cover the MillWorks land transfer.

Council President Judith Hempfling and Gerry Simms voted against the ordinance.

Council had discussed the MillWorks request at an earlier meeting, but at that time it wasn’t clear that even though the Village owns the land in question, which is part of the bike path right-of-way, that the Village is obligated to pay the Trail Maintenance Fund an amount equal to the value of the land, according to Village Manager Mark Cundiff. And Village staff was also not clear that the MillWorks owners expected the land to be transfered at no cost, following the precedent of a earlier Village land transfer of another strip of bike path right-of-way to Peach’s Grill last year.

According to a memo to Council from Cundiff, the $2,300 figure was the value of the land near MillWorks, $1,700, plus the value of the Peach’s land, $600, since when the Peach’s deal took place, the Village was unaware that it needed to compensate the Trail Maintenance Fund.

While the majority of Council members stated they supported the action because it would benefit economic development in Yellow Springs, Hempfling said that while she had initially supported the MillWorks request, “I don’t think it’s the Village’s responsibility to pay for the land if a fee needs to be paid.”

• Council unanimously approved the second reading amending the membership and quorum requirements for the Economic Sustainability Commission. The action reduced the required number of group members to seven from nine, so that the group could more efficiently do business.

• Council approved a resolution authorizing dues paid to the Northern Miami Valley Local Government Association, and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

• Council performed its second review of the Village Special Revenue Funds and Enterprise Funds. Council will consider the first reading of the 2012 Village budget at its next meeting.



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