Monday, February 15, 2010
How Many Cultural Venues Does Miami Dade County Need? By Geniusofdespair
Miami-Dade County, please stop funding cultural venues until you think this through or do some polls as to whether they are going to get used. The report in Sunday's Miami Herald about the underutilized $20,000,000 venue in Little Haiti should speak volumes. They built it with much needed tax dollars and now the City can't afford to run it and no-one much is using it. Yet another boondoggle with our tax dollars?
In Homestead they are building a Cultural Center, the Seminole Theatre. Michael Spring says that you can't expect people to travel to the Arsht Center so the county is funding local venues in local neighborhoods with our tax dollars. I personally think this logic is faulty. Who wants to stay close to see a substandard show? Anyway, the county afforded the Seminole Theatre in Homestead 4 grants totaling $1,523,344 which was enough to complete the exterior. The County says The Theater has reported that they have been pursuing the remaining funds but they have not yet secured the monies necessary to complete the project. I have to say that I am impressed with the oversight that Spring staff did on the Seminole project. An architect was charged with over-seeing the applications and he physically went to the site to make inspections and met with the contractor. Who knew they did due diligence?
Sources in Homestead say the city, since 1999, has given the theatre about $1.8 million. So, we have a completed shell for approximately $3.3 million with no money to complete the interior on the horizon.
Maybe we should throw in the chips now if Little Haiti's cultural center is a bellwether of what is to become of these local centers. Wait, the story doesn't end here:
It just so happens that the PAC, I reported on January 18th, was headed by Frank May the Director of The Seminole Cultural Arts Theatre a non-profit in Homestead restoring the Seminole Theater. Since the PAC's goal was to put certain people in office, and they are now in office, one can only assume that Frank May is sitting pretty in Homestead. I suspect more funding will be forthcoming for the interior work.
While about 30 miles North, the Miami Herald wrote:
A year after its understated opening, the city-run Little Haiti Cultural Center is largely unheralded, severely underfunded and sorely underused.