UPDATE Posted at 7:30 p.m. May 14

The Lincoln City Council has given its blessing to a $1.6 million redevelopment plan for the Lincoln City Cultural Center. A funding request to the Lincoln City Budget Committee to help pay for the plan is pending.

Read the update in the May 16 print edition of The News Guard.

Previous News Guard coverage posted May 12

REDEVELOPMENT: Cultural Center heads to city for approval

By Jeremy C. Ruark

The Lincoln City Council is set to review a redevelopment plan for the Lincoln City Cultural Center during the Monday night, May 14,regular council meeting.

The plan includes a $1.6 million Lincoln City Cultural Plaza.

The following is a conversation with Lincoln City Cultural Center Director Niki Price about the redevelopment plan.

News Guard: Give us the range of projects associated with the redevelopment plan, including the new plaza.

Price: This plan would transform the 2.5 acres that surround the historic Delake School building, creating an artistic, inviting outdoor community space. These improvements would include well-designed and efficient parking, outdoor ADA access and a meandering path that will lead to designated spaces for public art and community events.

The south entrance, which has the warmest exposure, would be surrounded by a pedestrian area, with benches and landscaping. There would also be program areas for outdoor classes, outside the ceramics studio, and a special location for our annual Christmas tree installation. The plan also calls for nose-in parking on NE Sixth St., and a sidewalk along Sixth that could eventually connect with the Head to Bay Trail.

There would even be improvements for our farmers' market vendors, like a driveable path and improved access to water and power. The working title is the Lincoln City Cultural Plaza.

News Guard: Why is this redevelopment project necessary?

Price: Our organization has spent the last 12 years improving the Delake School, bringing its systems up to modern public standards, while also creating specialized spaces where arts programming can take place. Now, it's time to apply the same process to the grounds.

There will be practical improvements that are sorely needed, like new pavement, crosswalks and sidewalks. Other parts of the plan will combine practicality with beauty, installing public art and creating multi-purpose spaces that will serve artists, farmers, businesses, musicians and community members. We want people to see the Center from blocks away, and recognize it immediately as a home for art and culture.

As the cliche goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Right now, our "first impression," the grounds that visitors see when they first pull in or drive by, is not on par with the people and experiences that can be found within. This project is necessary to the growth of our organization, and the long-term health of our community.

News Guard: What is the budget for the redevelopment and how will it be funded?

Price: We are only beginning the process for design and engineering, but the preliminary estimate is $1.6 million. The fundraising plan is also in draft form, but it will probably be a combination of grants, government funding and individual gifts through a capital campaign.

Luckily, this is a project that has a lot of interesting facets: in addition to arts and culture, there are also opportunities for business, agriculture, youth, rural community building, even historical preservation, so there are a lot of possible funding sources.

We are pushing forward quickly because there are some important deadlines, especially those tied to the Oregon State Legislature, which must be met in order to be considered in the 2019 session. We hope to work closely with the City of Lincoln City, using our nonprofit/public partnership to bring in the most support.

News Guard: When will the projects begin and be completed.. and will there be any disruption to the daily events at the cultural center?

Price: The schedule is unknown at this time, but we intend to avoid disruption of daily events by completing the project in stages. The entire project may take up to five years.

News Guard: What are the next steps in getting the redevelopment started?

Price: We are planning to give a joint presentation, with the Lincoln City Economic Development Department, at the regular City Council meeting on May 14. As part of that appearance, the LCCC will be seeking the following:

  • Council’s formal permission to improve the Delake School property,
  • Council’s approval of the general Cultural Plaza concept, as set forth in these renderings, and
  • Funding from the FY2018/19 budget to provide seed money for the grant-writing plan (currently in the draft budget)

If we receive permission to proceed, and we can secure the funding, we will continue work on the design and engineering plans, through the end of 2018. The next six months will also involve the finalizing of the fundraising plan, and the beginning of its implementation. If everything falls into place, some construction could be taking place in 2019.

The following is the formal request for the redevelopment project to the Lincoln City Council by the Lincoln City Cultural Center.

"In our organization’s current Strategic Plan, the Lincoln City Cultural Center board of directors identified five priorities for our nonprofit organization. Among them are:

Goal #1 – Enhance the overall quality of experience of the patrons and artists visiting the LCCC

Goal #2 – Increase the utilization (frequency, diversity and attendance) of the center by patrons, artists and performers.

In late 2016, the LCCC began work on a project that would address both those priorities by transforming the outdoor spaces that surround the historic Delake School building. These improvements would include well-designed parking, outdoor ADA access, farmers market utility, and a meandering path that leads to designated spaces for public arts and community events. Its working title is the Lincoln City Cultural Plaza, and the estimate for construction costs is $1.6 million.

We’ve spent 18 months and $11,000 with our landscape architects, Shapiro Didway, to bring the plans to this point. We are now engaged in planning and community outreach, and collaboration with stakeholders, facility users, neighbors and other nonprofits, gathering information that will inform the final design, engineering and phasing plans. If we can complete those plans by the end of 2018, the Cultural Plaza would be ready to compete for a wide range of state and regional funding opportunities (including the legislature’s Cultural Capital Construction Funds in the 2019 session, and the next Travel Oregon grant cycle).

The Lincoln City Cultural Center is seeking the following:

  • Council’s formal permission to improve the Delake School property,
  • Council’s approval of the general Cultural Plaza concept, as set forth in these renderings, and
  • Funding from the FY2018/19 budget to provide seed money for the grant-writing plan (currently in the draft budget)

If we receive permission to proceed, the LCCC will embark upon a 5-year plan to turn this concept into a reality. The effort will include a capital campaign, raising money from individuals, along with grant proposals on the local, regional and national scale.

Thank you for your consideration."

See the redevelopment master plan attached. The entire proposal, with conceptual drawings, may be viewed at the city's website, lincolncity.org.

The Lincoln City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Lincoln City Hall, 801 SW Highway 101 in Lincoln City.

Follow this developing story, here online, at thenewsguard.com, and in print, in the Wednesday editions of The News Guard.

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