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Cultural Center



Q: What is a "Cultural Center?"


A: A "cultural center" by definition is: an organization, building, or complex that promotes culture and arts. The Library and Arts will serve as the anchors for the Jasper Cultural Center. In addition to these two groups, our private developer, City Properties Group, is identifying the feasibility of private endeavors on the Hoosier Desk site. Options include, but are not limited to: restaurants, retail and commercial space, and possibly housing. In the coming months, more information will be made available about the design of the Cultural Center and potential public/private development.


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Q: Why is the Library partnering with the Jasper Arts?


A: The idea of partnering with the Jasper Arts Center came about in December 2014 after the Library Building Committee strongly recommended looking deeper into the Hoosier Desk site. The Library Building Committee and Jasper Arts Center took a combined tour of the facility. Many meetings and collaborative efforts soon followed, the largest of which was the awarding of a $3.5 million tax credit to the project by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).


In September 2015, the Library Board voted in favor of moving the Library to the Hoosier Desk site over the current location. Since that time, the two groups have worked together on a continuing basis to establish a fundraising team, by having joint meetings with private developers, and holding joint board meetings to establish comradery between the Arts and Library boards. The Library Board and City/Arts truly are partners and have agreed that both groups will have equal input in the entire decision-making process.


Benefits of partnering with the Arts include overall cost savings. Rather than hire two architects, two construction companies, etc., the two Boards are saving money by working together and sharing costs. With over 6,000 square feet in proposed shared spaces, this venture would be difficult to complete at two different times.


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Q: Will the referendum include the Jasper Arts Center?


A: No, the referendum vote will be for the Jasper Public Library only.


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Q: Does the new Cultural Center mean that the Jasper Arts Center will build a new auditorium?


A: There are no plans to build an auditorium at the Cultural Center. The existing auditorium will still be used for performances. Some smaller performances will begin to be held at the Astra Theater in the future. With the spaces available at the Cultural Center and the Astra Theater, the JCAC Board decided that there wasn't a need for an additional auditorium at the Cultural Center. Their portion of the Cultural Center will include: galleries, workshop spaces, yoga and dance rooms, rooms for events, and private studios.


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Q: Can't the Arts portion wait until later so the Library can build and move first? Or vice versa?


A: If only one group commits at a time, the Library and Arts would jeopardize the IEDC tax credits, since it was the whole project that was approved, not individual portions. Any changes to the overall scope of the project would require the IEDC board to approve an amended application.


Therefore, the Library Board realizes how important it is that the Arts Board secures their funding. At the same time, the Arts Board supports the Library Board with the passage of the referendum since they know their portion of the project is in jeopardy if the referendum fails.


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Q: Who will be responsible for the shared spaces? Will there be an operating agreement between the Library and the Arts?


A: Much like the agreement--called an "inter-local agreement"--for the design work being completed, there will also be an inter-local agreement for any instances of shared resources between the two entities. These instances include, but are not limited to: ownership agreements, leasing agreements, and operating agreements of shared spaces.


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Q: Will the referendum include other downtown projects/renovations?


A: No, the referendum vote will be for the Jasper Public Library only.


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Q: Will local businesses be involved in building the Cultural Center?


A: The Library desires to see local businesses involved in the project. In fact, Indiana Law requires that the public construction phase of building projects to go through a bidding phase. The Library cannot and would not simply award the project without a competitive and open process. That is why, even though not required by law, the Library Board decided to ask developers to submit proposals. When construction bids are solicited, we will welcome all interested parties to be involved in the process.


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