Jay County Commissioners heard two requests for funding from Arts Place on Monday.
Eric Rogers, executive director of the nonprofit organization, requested a one-time donation for Arts Place’s capital campaign in addition to funding for its annual Arts in the Parks program.
Rogers asked commissioners for a one-time grant for the capital campaign, an effort to raise $2.4 million to expand and revamp its Portland location. He hoped to add Arts Place’s name to the list of possible beneficiaries of NextEra Energy’s economic development disbursements.
NextEra will give a total of $996,000 in four installments to the county for economic development. Per the commissioners’ draft plan for the funds, almost $250,000 has not been designated yet.
“We do believe that what we’re doing will have significant economic impact,” Rogers said, citing Arts Place’s contribution to quality of life in the county. “As the rule goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
Arts Place has already raised $1.485 million since it began fundraising last August. It is asking the commissioners for a $25,000 grant.
Rogers also asked for funding for the organization’s Arts in the Parks program. It has been receiving assistance from Jay County Solid Waste Management District, but the district is considering cuts to its 2019 budget. Eliminating or downsizing its donation to Arts in the Parks is on the list of possibilities for limiting spending.
The district’s contributions of $12,000 in 2017 and $14,000 this year made up about 30 percent of the program’s budget, Rogers told commissioners.
“I’m concerned about how we’re going to fund Arts in the Parks for next year,” Rogers said. “What I’m hoping is that if it’s not possible to fund it through waste management district, it can come back to the county commissioner’s budget.”
Commissioner Chuck Huffman expressed his support of the program.
“The Arts in the Park program is just a traditional program here, and it’s been very, very successful. It does a lot of good,” Huffman said. “I guess I would like to see us find a way to do that.”
Commissioners agreed to consider the issue when discussing the 2019 budget.