OLYMPIA - The Olympia City Council appears to be reviving a project that has spent a year on the back burner: luring Artspace, a nonprofit organization that builds artist housing.
The next step in that process is to do a feasibility study that could cost up to $42,000. But Councilman Craig Ottavelli has discovered a matching federal grant that could cover much of that amount.
The council agreed Tuesday night to write a letter of intent to apply for the grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Engaging the community to bring Artspace to town is one of the council’s 2011 goals. The organization builds living, studio and work space for artists, all in the same building.
Once Artspace agrees on a location, it builds, owns and operates the project. But getting to that point requires the city to spend up to $750,000, though some of that could be paid with outside funding, including from Artspace. In addition to the feasibility study, the money would go toward determining project size and location, completing design and financial modeling, and securing financing and tax credits.
The council brought Artspace representatives to town in 2009 and made the project a priority. The makeup of the council changed in 2010, and the project was shelved.
Councilman Stephen Buxbaum worried that pursuing the federal grant would raise false hopes for the project, which would require money that isn’t available.
But Councilwoman Rhenda Strub defended the project, saying it’s an adopted council goal and isn’t bringing false hopes.
“This is a community that dreams big, and sometimes those dreams come true,” she said.
Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 email@example.com