News

Art stays off city's chopping block

By Kevin Hanson, The Courier-Herald

Supporters of the arts breathed a sigh of relief during last week's meeting of the Enumclaw City Council, when it was announced that funding for the arts - as part of the downtown Streetscape project - would not be chopped.

City officials have previously stated that the project, carrying a price tag of more than $1 million, was running about $50,000 over budget. In looking for ways to make up the difference, it was hinted that money earmarked for public art might be used to bridge the budget gap.

The Streetscape budget has included about $45,000 for the arts.

A small handful of arts supporters arrived at the July 28 council meeting ready to voice their opposition. Their planned protest was short-circuited early in the meeting, however, when City Administrator Mark Bauer reported the financial situation wasn't as bleak as originally thought. The scope of work was revised a bit, Bauer said, and the project shortfall had been pared to about $2,700.

As a result, "We will not be asking for council action," Bauer said. "At this time we are not projecting any reductions in the scope of work. We will be holding our budget as is."

Recognizing the budget for art was saved, boosters broke into applause.

During the portion of the agenda reserved for comments from the audience, artist Liz Reynolds, who also runs the downtown Arts Alive! Gallery, said, "I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart and for all the artists out there."

In other action during the July 28 meeting:

€ the council set a pair of public hearings for Monday evening. The first will address applications for Community Development Block Grant money; the second will deal with the city's recent ownership of the former Industrial Skills building, and the financial implications that come with the property.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com

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