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Town commits $25K to art center

The Town of Pulaski Tuesday agreed to contribute $25,000 in matching funds in an effort to help the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley obtain a grant of up to $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The grant would be used to help fund a $1.1 million project to turn the former Rutherford Pontiac building at the corner of Fifth Street and Washington Avenue into the new home of the fine arts center.
Art Center Director Judy Ison and Capital Campaign Director Debbie Brown appeared before Pulaski County Board of Supervisors last month and Pulaski Town Council Tuesday, seeking to obtain a commitment from each for a portion of the matching funds required for obtaining the grant.
Both women said it is important for the town and county to show financial support for the renovation project in order to improve the center’s chance of obtaining the grant.
The supervisors have yet to make a commitment, but Ison said she and Brown have been working with county staff and are hopeful the county will commit to a $25,000 donation.
Town council was going to hold off making a decision to give staff a chance to investigate the best source of funding for a contribution. However, the grant deadline falls prior to council’s next meeting, Oct. 6.
As a result, council decided to move forward with the vote Tuesday and instruct that the $25,000 commitment be paid through the town’s Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) account.
Town Finance Director Sherry Boyd said the UDAG account has a balance of $227,000. She noted that is the only fund currently available to back the match commitment.
Several council members said they feel it is important for the town to support the Fine Arts Center’s efforts to complete the Rutherford Building project.
Vice Mayor Dave Clark said he views to new home of the arts center and the train station/museum projects as “bookends” for the downtown commercial district.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. suggested Ison and Brown consider approaching the schools about doing some kind of fundraisers for the renovation project. He said that would get the local youth involved and give them a sense of “ownership” in the center.
Economic Development Director John White pointed out that $1.4 million in private funds already have gone into construction and renovation projects at the Washington Avenue and Fifth Street intersection, so it would benefit the town to help get the arts center project completed.
Ison said Tuesday asbestos already has been removed from the building and other environmental studies are ongoing. She said $300,000 has been raised to date, with some of the donations being in-kind services. If the center can get enough additional commitments, as much as $500,000 is available through the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The center also is looking into the possibility of taking out a loan on whatever amount they are lacking to reach the $500,000 match, Ison said. She said the 40-year, just over 4 percent loan is “doable” and could be repaid quickly if fundraising and grant writing is continued.
“The Fine Arts Center belongs to you all, the community and the whole New River Valley,” she told council. “We’re just the keepers of it.”
Ison and Brown said the Fine Arts Center, when combined with the rebuilt train station and new Raymond F. Ratcliffe Museum will be good marketing tools for the town and county.
Last month, Ison recounted the story of a North Carolina couple who recently sent money to the center to purchase some items they saw in the center’s window during a stop in town. Ison noted the couple saw signs on Interstate 81 advertising the center and decided to check it out.
It was a weekend and the center was closed at the time, but the couple mailed money for the items and the items were shipped to them.
According to Ison, the couple commented on how much they enjoyed the “beautiful” town during their visit. They indicated a desire to come back at a time when the arts center is open.

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Town commits $25K to art center

The Town of Pulaski Tuesday agreed to contribute $25,000 in matching funds in an effort to help the Fine Arts Center for the New River Valley obtain a grant of up to $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The grant would be used to help fund a $1.1 million project to turn the former Rutherford Pontiac building at the corner of Fifth Street and Washington Avenue into the new home of the fine arts center.
Art Center Director Judy Ison and Capital Campaign Director Debbie Brown appeared before Pulaski County Board of Supervisors last month and Pulaski Town Council Tuesday, seeking to obtain a commitment from each for a portion of the matching funds required for obtaining the grant.
Both women said it is important for the town and county to show financial support for the renovation project in order to improve the center’s chance of obtaining the grant.
The supervisors have yet to make a commitment, but Ison said she and Brown have been working with county staff and are hopeful the county will commit to a $25,000 donation.
Town council was going to hold off making a decision to give staff a chance to investigate the best source of funding for a contribution. However, the grant deadline falls prior to council’s next meeting, Oct. 6.
As a result, council decided to move forward with the vote Tuesday and instruct that the $25,000 commitment be paid through the town’s Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) account.
Town Finance Director Sherry Boyd said the UDAG account has a balance of $227,000. She noted that is the only fund currently available to back the match commitment.
Several council members said they feel it is important for the town to support the Fine Arts Center’s efforts to complete the Rutherford Building project.
Vice Mayor Dave Clark said he views to new home of the arts center and the train station/museum projects as “bookends” for the downtown commercial district.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. suggested Ison and Brown consider approaching the schools about doing some kind of fundraisers for the renovation project. He said that would get the local youth involved and give them a sense of “ownership” in the center.
Economic Development Director John White pointed out that $1.4 million in private funds already have gone into construction and renovation projects at the Washington Avenue and Fifth Street intersection, so it would benefit the town to help get the arts center project completed.
Ison said Tuesday asbestos already has been removed from the building and other environmental studies are ongoing. She said $300,000 has been raised to date, with some of the donations being in-kind services. If the center can get enough additional commitments, as much as $500,000 is available through the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The center also is looking into the possibility of taking out a loan on whatever amount they are lacking to reach the $500,000 match, Ison said. She said the 40-year, just over 4 percent loan is “doable” and could be repaid quickly if fundraising and grant writing is continued.
“The Fine Arts Center belongs to you all, the community and the whole New River Valley,” she told council. “We’re just the keepers of it.”
Ison and Brown said the Fine Arts Center, when combined with the rebuilt train station and new Raymond F. Ratcliffe Museum will be good marketing tools for the town and county.
Last month, Ison recounted the story of a North Carolina couple who recently sent money to the center to purchase some items they saw in the center’s window during a stop in town. Ison noted the couple saw signs on Interstate 81 advertising the center and decided to check it out.
It was a weekend and the center was closed at the time, but the couple mailed money for the items and the items were shipped to them.
According to Ison, the couple commented on how much they enjoyed the “beautiful” town during their visit. They indicated a desire to come back at a time when the arts center is open.

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