From Harford Campaign for Liberty:
Have you heard, folks? The Cultural Arts Board is working with the County officials to create a sleek new Center for the Fine Arts just three miles south of the Harford Mall.
According to the study paid for by the Board, you’ve been craving this for years, Harford County. You just didn’t know it.
In its Demographics Study, the Center targets its intended audience for upscale Ballet, Broadway shows, and musical performances. Let’s see if you fit the bill.
The Center expects to attract the 25-44 year olds, who “prefer to be seen” and will spend their money “as long as it’s perceived to be trendy.”
They want the 35-54 year bracket, those with college degrees, who are “winners” and therefore required to pull double duty – they’ll need to both attend and donate to the cause.
And the Center will apparently appeal to the “Blue Bloods”, the 46-64 year olds who enjoy an “opulent life style” and fat investment portfolios.
If you’re a senior citizen, dear resident, you’re not the target demographic.
If you’re a young free-thinker with a mind of your own, you don’t fit the bill.
If you didn’t get a college degree… well, this may be too high-brow for you.
If you’re still working hard, and not living the opulent life style, you may not be able to afford these arts.
If your career is in farming, construction, services, manufacturing, or transportation… they’re catering to Blue Blood funds, not Blue Collar cash.
If you’re part of the 22% living in Rural Harford, or one who enjoys Harford’s rural history… Sorry. The CFA may give lip service to preserving our “cultural heritage” but its real need is to draw an “urbanized” crowd.
Okay, we’ve targeted our golden ticket audience on any given weekend, which is slated to be 2.8% of the Harford County citizens. The rest of attendees will need to come from outside the county.
Well, what’s our benefit back?
96 jobs after all the phases are done, according to the 2008 study.
Okay, that’s something, right?
According to the Feasibility Study, 10 jobs are slated to provide salaries over $40,000. They’ve likely got these employees chosen within the CFA staff. The rest of the jobs (said to be 96) are either lower-paying service and blue-collar positions, or jobs loosely “proposed” to be created.
So unless you qualify for a Director, Manager or Officer’s job, don’t get too excited. There’s no budget for hiring a bunch of newly graduated performing arts majors here.
If you want to volunteer as an usher, you’re more than welcome.
But let’s assume the Center does actually produce 96 additional jobs – 96 jobs divided by a public/private cost of $60 million comes out to $925,000 per job.
The state would have to fund this project at $20 million and the county at $20 million as well. The Harford County Taxpayers would be on the hook for about $51.6 million including interest on the bonds.
Assuming the Center has raised its portion of the funds, of course.
How much have they raised?
Mum’s the word.
There’s no fundraising total available on the website, and no details were made available at the community outreach meetings they held.
But they’re off to a Bang-Up start this year according to their site, having collected just over $4,000 for this fall’s Dancing for the Arts event.
Anything the Center raised prior to 2015 was used up on outdated Business and Demographics Reports, and Architectural designs for this behemoth. And paying their own expenses or salaries.
And did the Center’s Board of Trustees consider the effects this consolidation of the Arts may have on the Harford Community College? On the Tidewater Players in Havre de Grace? On Rockfield Manor, the Richland Ballroom, and many more local venues that depend on art events they can host?
We could lose jobs in these communities if they lose vital support.
Folks, the Center For the 2% is a classic Money Pit.
It’s expected to cost $2 million a year to operate, but the 2008 study shows a startup revenue of $1.1million – operating in the hole from DAY ONE.
But these figures also assumed BRAC would be fully implemented, and Americans would increase attendance of Fine Arts events
Not only did Base Realignment NOT significantly impact Harford’s population, Aberdeen Proving Ground may now experience CUTS in the next BRAC implementation.
And the National Endowment for the Arts Study published January 2015 shows attendance for the Arts are down substantially, from an average of 41% attending at least once a year to only 33% participating nationally.
Maybe that’s why the Cultural Arts Board has once again altered course, “paring down” their $60 million project to a six-phase dynasty with a paltry $25 million price tag for Phase One.
They’re desperate to get the County taxpayers on the hook, before the Council realizes what a flop this is.
So, what do you think, folks?
Should we be plunking down almost $1 million per new job created for a building that will run $1 million in the red?
Or should our County Council and County Executive be concentrating on real priorities:
*Creating good, market-stable jobs and business opportunities
*Funding the Benefits promised our teachers and law enforcement
*Shrinking, instead of increasing our outstanding debts
Harford Campaign for Liberty will make sure each one receives your printed petition, along with any personal comments you’d care to make.
This is YOUR property, Harford County. This is YOUR money.
Tell your local government what YOU want done with it.
Harford Campaign for Liberty
P.S. Please take two minutes NOW to voice your opposition to the Center for the 2%, before all Harford County taxpayers are on the hook for twenty years of debt and operational costs. And forward this petition to fellow practical-minded residents. Together we CAN make a difference!