Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Meeting Notes - Artist Relocation Program

10:00 am Wednesday 13 August 2008
Bradley University
Caterpillar Global Communications Center
834 N. Duryea


Suzette Boulais
Marc Burnett
William Butler
Jacob Grant
Bobby Gray
Sally Hanley
Dr. Jeffrey Huberman
Craig Hullinger
Paul Krainak
Tracy Jackson
Tory Jennetten
Doug Leunig
Ross McIntosh
Jerry McNiel
Jessica Moroz
Paul Murray
Michele Richey
Stephen Stone
Hiram Torasson
Mitch Williams


Paducah, Kentucky Artist Relocation Program

The Committee discussed the potential Artist Relocation Program via conference call with City Planner Ben Peterson of the City of Paducah. The Paducah program is the best known program in the midwest. Peterson explained the Paducah process.

They started their program in 2000. It took about 1.5 years to get it underway. They attracted about 5 to 10 artists in the first 1.5 years.

They have attracted approximately 75 artists over the life of their program. About 60 of those artists are still in the community. They have 20 to 25 art galleries, many of them an adjunct to the artist home.

The Arts District is composed of many older homes next to downtown Paducah. Many of the homes were built from 1850 to 1910. The area includes about 25 blocks.

They have no firm definition of artist. The City does not care if they are full or part time, but they must live in Paducah if they acquire the home for $1.00. They prefer their artists to own the homes.

Most of the incentives were provided by local banks, who provided up to 300% financing for the rehabilitation of older homes. The City had acquired a number of older homes in very bad condition. They sold these homes to artists for $1.00.
They started the program with $40,000. The City has invested about $3.5 million total in the area over the life of the program. They have seen about $30,000,000 in private money invested. They believe that they have about a 1 to 11 ratio of public to private money invested. The succesful redevelopment of this area has also helped the development of the adjacent downtown.

About 1/3 of the City investment was for marketing, 1/3 for infrastructure, and 1/3 for everything else. Paducah has a population of 26,000, while the region has a total of about 100,000 people.

They draw visitors from around the Midwest. They draw a fair number of visitors from Chicago. Visitors from St Louis, Memphis, and Nashville are also important.

Property taxes are very low in Kentucky. In the early stages of the program an abatement of the 6% sales tax was employed, but this is no longer in place.

Revitalization of the neighborhood is now complete. Future efforts involve improving signage, streetscape, and more marketing.

The average age of their arriving artists was about 45 years old. Some of them were retirees establishing a second career.

Most artists prefer a space in which to live, to work, and for a small shop. The most desired homes had about 2,500 square feet. Homes range in size from 900 to 6,000 square feet.

Saturday is the biggest day for traffic and sales. The community also focuses on the second Saturday of each month as a marketing “focus” day. Most sales of art are to out of town visitors.

One of the difficulties in developing the district was to build consensus and keep focus.

Peterson agreed to meet with the Peoria Committee on Wednesday October 15, 2008. Participants should meet at the City Hall parking lot at 419 Fulton St at 07:00 am. The drive to Paducah takes about 5 hours. We will spend two hours with Peterson looking at the district and having lunch, with the return estimated at 7:00 pm+-. RSVP to Craig Hullinger at 309 494 8639.

Peoria Artist Relocation Program

Hullinger briefed the Committee on City programs at:

Hullinger noted that everyone was encouraged to post to the blog in an effort to build understanding and interest in the program.

The city has a number of programs to help redevelop older neighborhoods. Some of these programs are aimed to help first time homebuyers afford homes in Peoria. These programs provide assistance for down payments, low interest loans, housing rehabilitation. Banks have information on most of these programs. They are summarized on the page below:
Many of these programs could help attract artists to our city.
The City also has a number of other programs, including low interest loans to start businesses, Enterprise Zone incentives, and TIF incentives. These programs are explained on the City Economic Development Blogs under:
under TIF, Warehouse District, Incentives, and Enterprise Zone.

The Committee discussed areas of focus for artist relocation. The consensus was that the Warehouse District had the highest concentration of artists. The Warehouse District is very different than the Paducah Arts District, which is largely composed of single family homes. The size of the Warehouse District buildings sometimes requires a professional developer.
The committee discussed concerns about crime and poor infrastructure. More effort is needed on code enforcement and public safety.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 16 September 2008 at 10:00 am at the Contemporary Art Center at 305 S Water Street.


No comments: