The city council managed to offer additional guidance and clarification to the Lee’s Summit Arts Council (LSAC), who has been asked to participate in the initial planning stage of the outdoor festival space downtown.
The city is currently pursuing the development at 123 SE Third Street, which includes both a vacant lot and Arnold Hall, to fulfill a bond issue approved by voters last April.
During their regular session Thursday, Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray offered a motion to direct LSAC to develop a conceptual plan for use of the property on Third Street, including plans for use of Arnold Hall, and present it to the city council within 60 days.
There was an extended discussion about whether the city council could ask LSAC to include Arnold Hall in its concept, since the bond issue was specifically for an outdoor venue and Arnold Hall is, by nature of being a building structure, not outdoors. The council realized they may be confused themselves and quickly sought to re-establish expectations with LSAC.
City staff agreed that inclusion of Arnold Hall in the project could be covered by the bond issue. The council unanimously passed the motion to have LSAC present a development concept within 60 days.
The council also authorized City Manager Steve Arbo to contract outside services for their conceptual design, not to exceed $20,000 from the bond issue fund. The motion was made by Gray, who said he wanted to make sure the LSAC had all of the resources they needed to be successful.
Councilmember Rob Binney disagreed, arguing that the LSAC was capable of putting together a presentation without professional services and that enough money had been spent studying Arnold Hall, a building the city hasn’t known what to do with for years.
"I don’t think we should spend another dime on this building," he said. His was the only vote against authorizing the spending.
Councilmember Derek Holland advised LSAC to be frugal: Even with the savings the project will benefit from since Arnold Hall is already city-owned property, their monetary resources are finite.
The motion passed 6-1; Councilmember Ed Cockrell was absent from the meeting.