Basalt council approves first reading of performing arts center proposal
Basalt Town Council unanimously approved the first reading of the proposal for a new performing arts center at Willits on Tuesday night.
According to Jacque Whitsitt, town mayor, there wasn’t much council discussion after the proposal presentation for the new arts facility, which will replace The Arts Campus at Willits nonprofit’s temporary venue in Willits Town Center.
“Everybody is on board with the design and with how the center will help the town of Basalt,” Whitsitt said Wednesday morning. “The project has giant support from the community and the council.”
Referred to as “The Contemporary,” the new 10,000-square-foot TACAW facility is planned to sit on the southwest edge of Willits Town Center off of Willits Lane.
The Contemporary will include a kitchen that can be used for catering events and cooking classes, a green room for performers and a community room, along with 30% more seating capacity than the temporary TACAW venue.
A concrete canopy will suspend over the main entrance of the new performing arts facility, and solar panels will line the roof to help The Contemporary produce most of the energy it requires, as previously reported.
At the Tuesday night council meeting, the only concern with the performing arts center proposal was related to fencing on the south side of the development site, but was determined a “solvable issue,” according to Basalt Planning Director Susan Philp.
“The meeting was extremely positive, all of council is behind the art campus,” Philp said.
If The Contemporary is approved, Philp also said the town has a funding agreement with TACAW to contribute $942,179 to the planned performing arts center development through a real estate transfer assessment that was established by Basalt Town Council in 2001.
The assessment and the town arts land parcel The Contemporary is planned to sit on were designated specifically to facilitate and support a multi-disciplinary performing arts center in the Willits Town Center, according to town documents.
“TACAW was created specifically for the purpose of creating, managing and supporting a multi-disciplinary arts campus at the center of the Roaring Fork Valley,” town Resolution No. 24 states. “TACAW has provided a venue for film, music, education, culinary arts, performing arts and special events through the ‘Temporary’ space and now wishes to do so at the to-be constructed Arts Center on the Arts Parcel.”
In 2017, TACAW leased the arts parcel from town government for 99 years.
Town Council will do a second reading of The Contemporary proposal plan at its Sept. 24 meeting. If the second reading is approved, construction will likely begin in spring 2020 and is predicted to be finished 10 to 12 months after development starts.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.