City Council approves funds for the arts
August 27, 2008 · Updated 3:56 PM
ARLINGTON Arlingtons arts received a boost from the City Council April 2.
After nearly a year of negotiations, the Council voted unanimously to adopt Revised Ordinance 1414, which allocates for the arts 1 percent of the construction costs from each capital project that costs the city at least $25,000.
Jean Olson, a founding member of the Arlington Arts Council, had called for such an ordinance to provide a dedicated source of funding for public art, with more control on such expenditures, as well as a means of dedicating and protecting public donations for art in a managed account. She also believed it would demonstrate leadership, in establishing a style and experience for community members and visitors alike, as well as an appreciation for the intrinsic value of art and the value it adds to the community.#
When I hear discussions regarding the branding of Arlington, there is no doubt in my mind that part of the brand must be the sense of quality, caring and sharing that public art gives a community, Olson said. It says we like where we live, were proud to be part of this community and were glad youve come for a visit.
Francis Barden and Andrea Miller, recently appointed members of the city of Arlington Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission, both expressed support for the measure, while also commending the Council for its actions.
You take what you can get, but they went a long way toward accommodating this request, Barden said. This is a really farsighted community, when it comes to the arts. As a relative outsider, Im impressed. I love the level of citizen involvement.
Just as Barden looks forward to the possibilities of funding further artwork along Centennial Trail and even Olympic Avenue, once its finally refurbished, Miller hopes to see more high-profile sculptures in town.
Art enriches our lives, to the extent that we often dont even realize what our lives would be like without it, Miller said. With art, Arlington becomes an ever more interesting and vibrant place to live.
After a year of revising the details of the proposed ordinance, Arlington City Council member Marilyn Oertle is simply glad to have it passed. She remembered that the original proposal, which would have allocated for the arts 0.5 percent of the construction costs from each capital project that would have cost the city at least $100,000. Although this proposal was based on the legislation and experiences of other jurisdictions within Snohomish County, Oertle felt it needed to be tailored to fit the city of Arlington better.
How many projects do we have that would qualify for that financial minimum, once you exclude utilities, storm water lines and the airport? said Oertle, who noted that maintenance is still excluded from the capital projects whose construction costs would qualify for such allocations.
Oertle admitted that certain details of the ordinances administration remain to be worked out by the Council and the Mayor, but she emphasized that it would not increase the bids nor the total costs of capital projects, nor would it represent a tax increase, since in many ways, the funds that the ordinance will allocate for the arts reflect the funds that still would have been spent on the arts without such an ordinance in place.
Between trails, murals and music in the parks, we already give considerable monies to the arts, Oertle said. Its just difficult to find sources for such funding otherwise.
Until the next fiscal budget is drafted, Oertle acknowledged that its uncertain whether the North Olympic Avenue Reconstruction Project would be among the first capital projects whose construction costs would qualify for such allocations. However, she anticipated allocating funds for the arts from the construction costs of the planned Smokey Point fire station.