Arts Center Deserves County’s Support

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Editor:

We place a great deal of responsibility in the hands of our County Commissioners, hopefully recognizing the magnitude of their job, especially at budget time.

As a tax payer and a voter, I wish the following of our elected officials during the current budget process: That after the annual, basic budget items are provided for, that our commissioners consider funding the following budget item that has the potential to provide a new source of income for the county as well as the ability to serve every age group in the community and will provide education, a place for community assemblies, family entertainment and will have a lasting affect on our economic growth.  

This project is the Berlin Performing Arts Center (BPAC). I also hope that our commissioners have the vision, the ability to recognize and the confidence to act upon an opportunity that is good for the whole of the community, not just one segment. Seed funding for this project is being considered for inclusion in next year’s budget.

The Performing Arts Center Initiative has worked for years to develop plans for a community Performing Arts Center in the northern county. We have provided the commissioners with hundreds of supporter’s signatures, dozens of letters from school principals, educators, performing and visual arts organizations, business owners, mayors and city councils, parents and local professionals, all expressing the need for a center for arts and culture.

The good news is that the BPAC Initiative has developed:

1. A preliminary design, location, business structure, and calendar mock up.

2. The private sector is willing to pay for and run this facility. There are pledges of thousands of dollars for this center from private donors, much of it contingent upon the $200,000 requested as a show of support from the commissioners.

3. With the commissioners’ seed money, we can begin the project in the next three months.

4. With the commissioners’ seed money, we also have access to government grants that are available for projects such as this one.

5. This BPAC will produce income (county tax dollars) and economic benefits to area businesses.

At this time, we are asking for your help. Whatever you can do to convince your elected officials that it is their responsibility to recognize and help seed projects such as this, which will improve the economy and life in our community.

The added bonus of the Performing Arts Center is that not only does it provide a broader education and entertainment, it will provide additional income to businesses in the area, keeping our tourism industry healthy, broadening tourism from the beach to other parts of the county, bringing in new tax dollars to the county, while keeping our gas stations, retail stores, hotels, restaurants and other businesses busy.  

Another bonus is that we are not asking the county to fund the project. We are asking the commissioners to partner with us and provide the necessary seed money this year so that we can begin development and collect existing pledges for the project.

Not many of the county’s requested budget items have the ability to produce tax dollars for the county, serve every single age group in the community and have the ability to improve the income of local businesses.

We are only asking the commissioners to help seed this project, not build it themselves. If you feel strongly about having our own Performing Arts Center, do what you can to contact the commissioners and strongly urge them to provide the seed money in this year’s budget and not allow the opportunity for this community asset to slip away.

Patti Miller

Ocean City

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