Courthouse Dressed for Christmas
I was talking to my friend and neighbor and she reminded me that she had sent an e-mail awhile back that was a recap from the City Council members. Thankfully, I don’t delete e-mails from her. (Because advertising is Vital, you need Vital Signs). 🙂
So here is what I have been able to find:
The Courier Gazette
published a great article
yesterday summarizing what has happened up to this point. Apparently, a special committee was put together last fall to recommend a strategic plan for MPAC
. Their recommendations were discussed at the January 4th City Council working session. The best mention I could find of that is in the City Council Meeting Summary available here
(view the PDF for January 5th). At that time, the City Council directed the City Manager and staff to draft a formal recommendation, drawing from the recommendations of the committe and the peer review performed by UTD, to be available in 3 months.
There are 3 goals:
1) Increase Activity at MPAC
2) Decrease subsidy costs
3) Include more visual arts
There will be two public forums:
1) February 18th (Thursday) at 9 a.m at the MPAC, 111 N. Tennessee St. Public may review plans, ask questions & provide feedback.
2) March 18th (Thursday), details of meeting time and place are still being determined.
So now you know when and, at least for the first one, where. If you can’t make it, you are invited to provide feedback through the MPAC’s website at www.mckinneyperformingartscenter.org
. I am hoping that they don’t mean the survey
, though that would be good to fill in too. There is a Contact tab and that has a lot of e-mail addresses on it, so I am guessing that is what they mean.
I am afraid that the e-mail that I got may be “the e-mail” that was referenced by Anne Royer in her McKinney Today article as having starting the stir. It is supposed to be a recap by the special committee of their recommendations. I have copied it here and removed anything that I think might not have been in the original but I still don’t know if it contains erroneous information. I did not put in any ellipses marks. There may be an original somewhere with more information. Please bear that in mind. I think it is important to present this, however, because – so far – no one has really mentioned what the recommendations actually are. Please also keep in mind that the City wants our input, nothing is anywhere near finalized.
Here it is:
Discuss Redirection Plan for the McKinney Performing Arts Center (Mayor Brian Loughmiller, Mayor Pro-Tem Pete Huff, and Council member Don Day) (30 minutes)
RECOMMENDED CITY COUNCIL ACTION:
• Discuss and seek consensus of City Council direction
Mayor Brian Loughmiller, Mayor Pro Tem Pete Huff and District 1 Representative Don Day met on October 8 and subsequently refined our thoughts and comments regarding MPAC though early December and are submitting these comments to the City Council for consideration and comment at a public meeting to be held on January 4, 2010.
Despite not having met individually with each council member before the meeting, the issues from each council member were fairly consistent in re: the operational deficit.
Considerations and Assumptions
1. Current information based on Peer Studies and information from talking with various stake holders is that MPAC lacks a defined business plan geared towards maximizing quality operation and reduction of financial deficit.
2. Access to the building during multiple events leads to confusion and perceived reduction in quality of the events being held when the facility is used as a multi purpose facility.
3. Sight lines and seating in the theatre area are not conducive to providing the optimal experience for performances.
4. Operational expenses from a staffing standpoint should be evaluated to determine operational needs depending on programming.
5. Many …uses heretofore …are not events that will draw consumers to MPAC on a regular basis.
1. Implement a business plan that includes utilization of the first floor space either ..as…small retail space, bookstore, or private rental, factoring cost of access, maintenance and management of the facility as part of the rental expenses. Each decision to implement an additional activity must be based on a break-even or better analysis considering full cost and revenue of each proposed activity.
2. Reduce the daily multiple-use model and implement one that focuses on performing arts …Thurs thru Sunday.. To coincide with evening activity around the square and in downtown McKinney.
The existing guideline that MAPC should be open full time for visitors should be abandoned.
Provide consistent thematic venues that will maximize draw to the facility for the performances including live performances by local and upcoming bands, comedic type of talent I.e.: similar to an Improv and other regional, state and national acts.
3. Evaluate current performances from an attendance and promotions standpoint. (cost vs. Revenue generation)
4. Develop in basement a ‘for profit consignment art gallery’ featuring local artists’ works at no cost to the artist other than a reasonable percentage commission between the artist and gallery for sales. Use computers to track sales and sales tax which can result in monthly remittance to the artist and gallery. This activity would necessarily come under the “must break-even” or not be implemented.
5. Possibly utilize part of the MPAC space for a traveling art exhibit that would feature art tours with a nominal fee charged to the public…. (Part of this consideration could be inclusion of some Collin County History Museum exhibits currently not displayed [there] due to space constraints.)
6. Maximize access points by opening doors to the first floor rather than having all access come in through the basement.
7. Renovate the auditorium to include retention of …evidence of historic value …with historic seats and a plaque and …replace remaining seats with more comfortable seating with appropriate sight lines from the upper section to maximize sight lines to the stage.
8. Possibly move the soundboard to the mezzanine to create additional seating …on the ground floor.
9. Adjust staffing to match the [proposed] services and programming.
10. Determine the value of the continued use of the pipe organ taking into consideration the donative intent when the Organ was installed, its current use and benefit, if any, gained from seating capacity if it is not used.
11. In light of current city office needs and depending on the direction of the Council related to the McDonald Street Court house and new construction, consider:..
1] moving Council meetings to MPAC theatre on First and Third Mondays and Tuesdays.
2] Utilize some of the office space in MPAC for City Board meetings or work session items on non-council days or other City functions. The effect of this would be to allow for the renovation of current council chambers for additional office space needed for City Staff without the need for immediately constructing a new municipal center.
It may be more cost effective to base a number of city employees in MPAC instead of trying to lease out the office space. In this case, we would continue to use the present Council Chambers. This recommendation is based on … the appearance of limited support for spending $17,000,000.00 to $20,000,000.00 on a new 45,000 square foot municipal center.
We felt as a group that MPAC as a multi purpose facility was too small …which has resulted in a significant number of events each week with minimal attendance in some cases. While we understand that some of these issues may represent significant change considering the impact on current use, current staffing and historic nature of the facility, these thoughts are being offered with the intent of lowering overhead costs, staff expense and maximizing the entertainment value of the performances that are booked.
We also recognize that significant measures as outlined herein should occur after convening a public hearing to afford the citizens …to voice any concern they may have regarding these recommendations.
• Since MPAC opened in 2006 it has operated at a loss being subsidized through McKinney Community Development Corporation… at approximately $500,000 per year for the past few years.
• While it was expected from the financial documents presented at the time of reconstruction that a deficit would occur, it was also expected that this deficit would be reduced over time. The comments herein are not designed to be interpreted that the … facility operate at a profit as much as …to significantly reduce the annual deficit.