I would like to respond to Mat Eicher’s letter from last week to clear up some misconceptions he expressed about the ideas the Arts Alliance has for the future and the possible campaign to purchase the empty First National Bank building for a regional arts center.
This project has in no way involved city planning, and is completely separate from the Bluffs and other downtown projects. Former Mayor Stephanie Klinzing, while she has since expressed her own support for the idea, was not involved in any way when talks about converting the bank building into a regional art center started six months ago.
At this stage, a Regional Arts Center steering committee is planning a feasibility study to determine if a campaign to purchase the building would be viable.
Our intention is to seek foundation money and private donations to finance the purchase and remodeling of the building into a regional arts center.
We understand full well these are difficult economic times that require stimulating business downtown.
We are confident this center would be an excellent improvement to the riverfront, taking a building which is now mostly empty that, when developed, would attract people and business, providing a much-needed economic stimulus not only for the historic downtown but for the entire surrounding region.
We welcome all input and intend to keep the public informed with accurate information as this campaign unfolds. — David Raymond, Elk River (Editor’s note: Raymond is the chair of the Elk River Arts Alliance Board of Directors.)