I think the mayor just put certain people “on notice”:
Wilder: no debt for arts project
Sep 12, 2006
Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder says the city should not take on debt to renovate and expand the Carpenter Center if it does not own the theater.
Wilder stressed the point in a letter sent yesterday to Robert J. Grey Jr., chairman of the mayor’s performing arts committee.
Wilder’s City of the Future plan includes $25 million for the Carpenter Center, which is owned by the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation and is slated for a renovation and expansion that could cost $65 million.
“The city should not and will not incur debt on property we do not own,” Wilder wrote. “Therefore, . . . it will be imperative for the structure of the city’s involvement to be crafted with this policy in mind.”
But is that “the word”? Or is Mayor Wilder merely transferring the Titanic’s pink slip to another filing cabinet? Emphasis mine:
Wilder’s thoughts on city ownership of the Carpenter Center should not be a surprise, [his spokesman Linwood] Norman said.
In outlining his City of the Future plan in January, Wilder described a scenario in which the city would own the theater and lease it to the arts foundation for $1 per year, according to a transcript of remarks that were prepared in advance of the January meeting. The foundation would have the right to operate the theater and the responsibility of creating an endowment to offset expected operating deficits, according to the transcript, which the city handed out yesterday.
City Council President G. Manoli Loupassi said he agrees the city should ultimately own the Carpenter Center if its renovation is going to be funded primarily with city funds.
“If you’re putting all the money in then, yes, you should have the control,” Loupassi said.
The arts foundation says it has $10 million available from private donors and hopes to raise an additional $20 million by Dec. 31.
(Thanks to “Local Boy” for passing along the swell photo illustration.)
(UPDATE: Snoopy from “River City Rapids” has posted the performing arts committee report here, and provides a detailed autopsy of what has been happening here, here and here. He also links to the latest hilarious Gary Brookins cartoon on the Foundation’s incompetence — summing up the situation nicely — right here. Go, Snoopy, Go!!)