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Posted Thursday, June 7, 2012
Siler City, NC - Richard Church presented his comments to the Chatham County Board of Comissioners during a May 22 budget hearing in Siler City and provided them in their entirety for the record as follows:
“Since our last meeting (April 12, 2012) the North Carolina Arts Incubator has been actively working to address its financial situation.
1. Budget Review
We are in an intensive review of our budget on a line by line basis. We have been accepted into a USDA-funded program through which the Incubator will receive a free energy audit focused on low and no cost savings. We spent $24,000 last year on utilities.
The Incubator's finance committee is meeting or on the phone on a regular basis with Capital Bank regarding the debt financing associated with 138 Chatham Avenue. We have a proposal on the table with the bank presently, which the bank is reviewing, related to the restructuring of this debt.
The Incubator has raised more than $12,000 since we last spoke. This includes a $10,000 donation from the Wren Foundation, which is the first year's grant in conjunction with a 5 year $50,000 grant commitment.
3. Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship.
The Incubator Board met and set a clear path for this new venture that will utilize the space formerly occupied by CCCC and generate the revenues necessary to cover the restructured debt service.
The Board determined the best use for the 138 Chatham Avenue building and will reconvert certain office spaces back to the artist incubation spaces for which they were originally redeveloped. We will use the main instructional spaces for Center's courses alongside other available teaching spaces within our other facilities in downtown Siler City.
The Incubator Board also determined the direction of the Center's initial course offerings and will focus on short-term specialty offerings that will also benefit the local economy through bringing in overnight guests to Siler City. In this regard, the past weekend Third Friday ArtWalk and Milo Holt Film Festival was an excellent example, with cowboys and artists arriving from throughout the southeast on Friday, attending Third Friday ArtWalk and then spending the night and eating in local restaurants before participating in the Milo Holt festival on Saturday.
The Incubator understands that the County Board of Commissioners would like additional information regarding its plans for the Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship and will be providing the same to the County Manager per that request. We are grateful for the County's proposed allocation of $34,261, which will be used to hire the additional staff necessary to operate the Center, and look forward to working with the County as we move forward.”
Commissioner Kost asked if Siler City contributed anything in their recommended budget. Mr. Church stated that they had a line item, but he is unsure if they have a definitive number at this time; however, he anticipates that it will be in the $12-15,000 range.
Diana Hales of Siler City, NC, spoke in favor of funding for the Arts Incubator. She stated that she has been involved for over a year with Siler City’s NC STEP Program to put projects together to help escalate economic development in downtown Siler City. The Arts Incubator is absolutely essential to the NC STEP process in terms of participating in a number of the projects that they are trying to move forward in which they have been a catalyst. Although there is a long way to go in terms of financial health, the impact in this community is huge. She stated that were happy that the County removed them from the non-profit monies to stand with a one-time funding in order to get their financial house in order so they can move forward.
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