According to this article via the Star Tribune, Rosemount’s City Council has decided to move forward with plans to renovate a local church into an arts center, something which was originally voted down by Rosemount residents.
Just over a year ago I attended an open house to get a tour of the future Rosemount Arts Center which was proposed to be housed in the old St. Joseph’s church right smack in the middle of downtown. I remember the place being really dumpy but fixable and the task force charged with providing direction wanting them to use the dilapidated church and not the school–something which I found atrocious:
The official “tour” never happened for anyone except those deemed worthy. I spent my time poking around the church as directed and found more examples of water damage, peeling paint, and even bare wires. The basement was frightening and somewhat reminded me of the church I went to growing up. I had distinct flashbacks to the haunted houses I walked through and worked on as a kid. As I exited this beautifully decorated room into the very narrow hallway leading to bathrooms and the “scary” boiler room, I saw The Chosen on their private tour leaving the “horrific” (and very brightly lit) boiler room. As I tried to peek inside the boiler room I was glared at and the door was shut.
Now, being that the residents of Rosemount voted down the referendum aimed at renovating this church you would think that was the last of this discussion until the economy improved and the people had another round of voting to reconsider any future action. Apparently the Rosemount City Council, envious of Burnsville’s unwarranted spending on their own money pit of an arts center, wanted to do some of their own and approved $220,000+ (instead of the full $1 million turned down by the public) something which the Star Tribune said is, “far less,” than what was originally suggested. While the city claims that they’re paying $40,000 in utilities a year whether it’s used or not and that it would have deteriorated even further if nothing had been done, they should have considered this from the get go.
As an outsider looking in it’s easy for me to ignore the egregious spending approved by the Rosemount City Council but being that we have watched as numerous other city projects from around the South Metro have failed, including one spectacularly similar one in Burnsville, you would think that they would have learned from the mistakes of others and not moved forward with what the citizens did not want. Unfortunately history is doomed to repeat itself. Ugh.
So what do you think about this? With all the talk centered around the fact that it’s probably in Burnsville’s best interests to sell off the BPAC, possibly at a loss, would Rosemount have been better off dumping the church and its $40,000 in yearly utilities and needed upgrades? Is another community arts center really necessary when we have under utilized ones all over the South Metro as it is? Whatever you have to say about Rosemount’s taxpayer dollar folly go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say on this one.