by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
This may be the most important public meeting held on the future of the Arvada Center in at least a dozen years. It seeks citizen input on how the Center will be governed over the next decade or two. In essence, there is a proposal on the table to turn the operation and funding of the Arvada Center over to a private non-profit foundation that is not a part of the City government.
Despite the Arvada.org announcement that this is intended to be an information session, it’s real purpose is supposed to be to gather public input. The meeting came about because of a City Staff recommendation for further public input before proceeding with the privatization proposal for the Center — and because of a City Council request that there be an opportunity for input from the public before proceeding. Here are my short notes from the City Council workshop held on August 12th of this year regarding the Arvada Center foundation proposal and Wednesday’s meeting.
City Manager Mark Deven: . . . we need to make sure our community is aware of what we are doing and how we are doing it. Then we’ll come back to the City Council for action. . . .
Councilor Shelley Cook: I just want to be clear. I’m not hoping that we go out and inform people. I REALLY think that there are some significant issues the public could raise. Rachel made this point upstairs. We need the kinds of meetings where we make sure the community’s input is addressed, so getting that kind of input is what I hope we do with these meetings.
City Manager Mark Deven: Yes, we’ll get that input and come back to you with a plan. But I have to make the distinction between returning with plan versus coming back with an operating agreement, which has to come later.
That input meeting will be held Wednesday, October 30th at the Arvada Center in its History Museum from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The Arvada Center is located at Wadsworth Boulevard and 68th Avenue.
Now is the time to say what you think about the initiative. The public may not have another chance to comment on the foundation proposal until next summer when the new foundation’s operating agreement is expected to become available for public review. By then, I would expect that all the major elements of the agreement will be pretty much in place. And the approval schedule may go pretty fast after that.
I had an opportunity to attend a preview meeting for donors held earlier this month. (I’m not a donor, but my wife got an invitation.) It was indeed a public input meeting. Arvada Center Executive Director Philip Sneed repeatedly asked the attendees what elements and features of the existing Arvada Center they wanted to see preserved in a new operating agreement. He got a lot of responses and questions. The answer to many of those questions was, “It depends upon what goes into the operating agreement.”
If you go, you are most likely to have your voice heard if you go prepared. Here is the link to the official City meeting announcement. On that page there are also links to copies of some important documents and the recommendations the ad-hoc committee that designed this proposal is making to the City Council.
You can also view the City Staff report to the City Council in this agenda item summary for a Council workshop held on August 12, 2013.
And not to spoil anything, but if you think you might be late, you can get an advanced look of the PowerPoint presentation that should be shown at the first part of the meeting by clicking on this link.
Just a personal observation on my part: There is a lot at stake here. If this agreement works as planned, it could bring significant benefits to Arvada, to the Arvada Center and to the City’s reputation of being one of the best places to live in the metro area. If it fails to achieve its goals, we could end up with a diminished arts and humanities program, a failing reputation and budget overruns that will be difficult to control.
WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Finding out more before the draft operating agreement is presented to the City Council could be difficult. This is one of those items where you may be best off contacting your representative on the Council for more information. That contact information is on the inside cover of every issue of the Arvada Report that Arvada residents receive every two months.
The CLRC posted a lengthy article on the push for a new governance for the Arvada Center last year. You can read that article at this link:
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community regularly posts neighborhood information on its website at http://www.ralstoncommunity.org/ as it becomes available. Or you can friend us on Facebook. Our Facebook name is “CLRC Arvada”.
Photo credits: The City of Arvada
John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org
October 27, 2013