Commission tables EKU Center for the Arts discussion until all parties can meet 

Register file photo 

The EKU Center for the Arts, located in Richmond. 

During a Tuesday night Richmond Commission meeting, matters of funding for the EKU Center for the Arts were scheduled to be discussed.

That didn't happen.

Before the discussion could take place, Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe mentioned he would like to have all parties present, before perhaps a hasty decision was made.

Last week, the city had two proposals presented to them by EKU.

One proposal was to renew the memorandum of understanding currently in place. The other was a new interlocal agreement which establishes the center’s funding.

According to City Manager Rob Minerich, the difference between the two documents is that the memorandum agreement gives each government — Richmond, Berea and the county — three board seats, and six with the university.

With this, there would be no cost associated, and the city would serve only in an advisory position.

With the interlocal agreement, which Minerich called a “cost-sharing agreement,” each entity would still have three members, but each party would pay no less than $125,000 a year to support the EKU Center of the Arts.

In earlier explanations, Minerich stated the EKU center was formed in 2006 with a community operations board that was established with members from the university and three governments.

The agreement was renewed in 2013, but in 2016, under former Governor Matt Bevin, legislation was vetoed which would've helped fund the center.

Tuesday evening, the new, draft memorandum of agreement was put on pause, after the commission voted to unanimously table it until parties from the three governments and EKU could meet.

“I would rather have all parties sit together and have a good, open discussion to make sure that we are all on the same page,” Blythe said.

He said he had been, and would continue, to research current agreements with EKU, as well as a history of funding partnerships with the institution as well.

“So, I would make a motion that we table order 21-58,” the mayor requested.

Commissioner Jim Newby made the motion and Commissioner Mike Brewer seconded.

Commissioner Krystin Arnold stated she would like to keep the topic very much on the city’s radar, and keep it timely as the body moves forward with further discussion.

“Mr. City Manager if we can please, as quick as possible, bring this to be,” Blythe said.

Minerich obliged and stated he would see to it the county, two cities, and EKU meet for open discussion.

In other business, the city commission heard from Jason Eberle, of Gibson Bay Golf Course, who said “golf is booming right now.”

He told the commission, on a daily basis he sees a packed parking lot, and a line of golfers ready to practice their swing hitting golf balls.

“A lot of people are golfing right now,” he said.

According to Eberle, course conditions were great, and crews were working very hard, and having a lot of fun.

Eberle also shared some charity events held at the Richmond course, which included Habitat for Humanity, the fire department, God’s Outreach, and Relay for Life.

Other business:

• Municipal road aid funds in the amount of $637,000 were approved for the repaving of roads, and sidewalk repairs.

• Jack’s Cleaners, Galaxy Bowling Center, Clean Dry, and The Paddy Wagon were approved for a $2,500 grant for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

• Dalton Leet’s resignation from the Richmond Police Department was accepted.

• Ricky Reynold’s retirement from the Parks Building and Grounds department was accepted.

• Brady Daniels was hired to the Recycle Department as a full-time technician.

• Mark Brumbaugh was hired as a full-time laborer of the Public Works Department.

• Bobby Lowery was approved as a full-time laborer in the Parks Department.

• A Community Development Block Grant Administration Services contract with Fahe Consulting was approved for project implementation and program management services related to The Liberty Place Shelter in the amount of $10,000.

The next Richmond City Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 11 at 6 p.m.

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