This is not the first time the Arts Garage space has been under siege. In 2013, the City Commission considered selling the space attached to the municipal parking garage in the heart of downtown to an attorney for $2.5 million. Thanks in no small part to a large outpouring of public support, the city gave the Arts Garage two years to raise the money to purchase the space while continuing to rent it for $800. That lease is up on March 15, and the Arts Garage has failed to raise the funds.
So, when the City Commission recently put together a list of valuable city-owned properties that could be sold, the venue was listed, and at Tuesday's commission meeting, City Manager Donald Cooper will give his recommendation.
"It's our understanding that on Tuesday, the city manager is giving a report to the City Commission to ask for guidance and direction," says Alyona Ushe, Arts Garage CEO. "Our fate will be discussed and determined, and on Tuesday, the direction will be set."
Though it has failed to raise the funds to purchase the space,
"We're hoping they won't decide to sell at this time. There is a bond on the venue right now that they can't sell it for more than $2.5 million within the next two years, and
"We're asking people to share their personal experiences at the Arts Garage and to talk about how critical the arts are to all of ours lives."
The online petition has already garnered 870 signatures.
As for the fate of the Arts Garage should Tuesday's meeting not go its way, it's not something
"We're focused on the positive right now," she says. "We're partners in the city, so we're optimistic they will see us and the value we bring to the city. We will do whatever the city asks us to do. We're hoping to find a solution that is suitable to all of the parties involved. We're confident the city sees our value."
The Delray Beach City Commission meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, February 16, at City Hall, 1000 NW First Ave. Delray Beach. To sign the Save Arts Garage petition, visit petitionsite.com. You can also make a donation at ccc-arts.org.