Arts discussion on hold until new year

The Gilroy Arts Alliance is asking the City for more than $800,000 for upgrades to their interim building on Monterey Street, a request that City Council decided they need to study more before making any decisions.

Council agreed during a special meeting last Thursday to hold off on discussing any expenditure for the Arts Alliance until their retreat in January.

“If we were to spend that money we would have to cut $1 million from our budget and that would be really tough right now. We need to think that through,” said Councilman Perry Woodward.

Structural upgrades to retrofit the building to make it earthquake and fire safe for large groups of people are estimated to cost $642,000. Other expenses for one year of operation, including landscaping, electric bills, staffing, painting and the construction of an outdoor stage are an addition $178,000.

Estimates are preliminary and have not been ironed out yet, Woodward said.

“The Mayor said, at some point during our discussion that it’s like we’re getting ready to go on a trip and we don’t even have a map. And I like that analogy,” he said.

Councilman Dion Bracco agreed.

“I’d be interested in getting a real estimate, instead of these guesstimates, to find out exactly what it would cost and what has to be done and what doesn’t have to be done,” Bracco said.

Bracco said he is open to discussing it, and supports the Arts Alliance – but isn’t convinced that shelling out that kind of money would be good for Gilroy right now.

“Wants and our affordability are two different things,” he said.

The Interim Center for the Arts, located at 7341 Monterey St., which currently can’t accommodate more than 49 people because of state fire codes.

Several upgrades are required to increase the occupancy limit such as ADA access, bathrooms, fire safety and structural retrofitting.

While Council did not officially vote on anything Oct. 25 because it was not a regular meeting, they unanimously agreed to take a step back and research more before they make any decisions regarding the Interim Center for the Arts.

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