From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 25 - June 21, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

New arts center one step closer

by Alecia Warren

The Board of County Commissioners agreed to help in the next step to gaining approval for a Pinedale Community Conference and Arts Center at the meeting on Tuesday.

Jo Crandall and Joanne Garnett, representing a handful of Fine Arts Council members and citizens proposing the arts center, requested that the commissioners allocate $41,000 to hire consultant Louise Stevens, president of strategic development company ArtsMarket Inc., to conduct a needs assessment for the proposed center, which the board members agreed to request from the state for the county budget.

Crandall presented each of the commissioners with Stevens’ proposal for the assessment, which would draw comparisons to other facilities similar in size and location, and would also calculate the center’s impact on local businesses and citizens.

The commissioners agreed that though they wouldn’t build an arts center without first asking voters if they would willingly pay a higher sales tax for the facility, the analysis could help identify just how much Pinedale citizens could expect to receive for their sacrifice.

“We can’t do something of this size and scope without knowing the amount of size and space it will require,” Commissioner John Linn said. “We need numbers, and this will generate an idea for us.”

If the state approves funding, the analysis would hopefully start sometime this summer, Crandall said.

“It will help us narrow down what we think we’re going to ask for and give the architects some numbers,” she said.

The Carney Architects firm out of Jackson has already agreed to draw up preliminaries for the project, Crandall added.

The commissioners earlier allocated $30,000 for the group proposing the center to conduct its own preliminary study, which group members revealed the results of at the April 13 Commissioners meeting. The group then predicted that the center would require 3-5 acres and would accommodate functions like official meetings, funerals and reunions, as well as provide classrooms for gallery space and art education. Pinedale’s current venues for these events like the Sublette County Library and Rendezvous Pointe, Crandall pointed out at the April meeting, are overwhelmed and can’t serve the community’s needs on their own.

After comparing Stevens with other consultants, Crandall said the group found Stevens had more experience with small towns in the state and could provide a more precise analysis.

The commissioners emphasized Tuesday that even if the analysis gave a glowing report of local support, building the center wasn’t the commissioners’ decision to make. “I am committed that without special blessing from the voters, we won’t fund this size of a project,” Linn said.

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