A cultural arts center for Fuquay-Varina, advocated for many years by the local arts council and others, has finally made it into the town’s five-year plan for capital projects, in the 2012-13 budget proposed by Town Manager Jon Barlow and now under study by the town board.
The center shows up first in the fourth year of the plan (2015-16) with $250,000 listed as estimated cost of design.
Construction would come in the fifth year (2016-17) at a cost estimated at $3,500,000. It is suggested the town at that time be prepared to provide $2 million and that the remaining funding come from grants and private donations.
When the center came up in last week’s meeting of the board for budget study, Commissioner Cindy Sheldon cautioned, “We are not committed to the cultural arts center. It’s in the five-year plan. We’re not telling you we’re doing it.”
Ms. Sheldon had earlier expressed some concern about the number of new employees requested in the upcoming year’s budget. She said she wants to see justification for the new hires. It has been estimated that operation of a cultural arts center would require two to three fulltime people.
Commissioner Bill Harris said he thinks it is appropriate that the town take leadership in working for a cultural arts center, but he likes the idea of it being a public/private endeavor.
Mayor John Byrne, an enthusiastic supporter of the arts center idea, said after the budget study meeting. “We’ve got to get busy looking for grants. We got some for the community center (enlarged a few years ago). We’ve got to try for some again.”