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Fine Art Center, Historical Museum Request $800,000 From City

City Manager Rob DiSpirito packages improvements requiring a $800,000 commitment to the Dunedin Fine Art Center and the Dunedin Historical Museum.

The city manager pitched a plan last week during a workshop to invest about $800,000 in the Dunedin Historical Society and the Dunedin Fine Art Center, while using code enforcement fines to spruce up distressed properties.

It is meant to be "broad-based" and "inclusive" alternative to economic development, he said.  

Rob DiSpirito's Quality of Life Initiative calls for:

  • Using code enforcement fines to help make repairs to and repaint private homes in distressed neighborhoods. 
  • Giving $200,000 to the Dunedin Historical Society and Museum for an 800-square-foot expansion and rehabilitation. 
  • Giving $500,000 to the Dunedin Fine Art Center to match a "rare grant opportunity" for a planned expansion of its West Wing. 
  • Alotting $100,000 toward Blatchley House improvements. The house is slated to be used as a future coastal and environmental education center at Weaver Park. The city is already allocating $46,000 over the next two consecutive years.

The $500,000 committment to the Dunedin Fine Art Center is time sensitive. The organization needs to have a match by July 2013. 

"Interest rates are at an all-time low, so borrowing to fund these construction costs will never be as affordable as it is today," DiSpirito said.

The city commission votes Thursday on the final 2013 budget, which DiSpirito cut by 10 positions. 

DiSpirito threw out a few possible financing options. He said the city could either take out a 20-year loan, resulting in $60,000 to $70,000 in annual debt payments or use part of the potential $1 million in bond re-financing savings, none of which would result in raising taxes or cutting public services, he said. 

Lori September 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
HEY! Can the taxpayers of the "SOUTHSIDE" get some of that "spruce up $$$"...More waste in the City of Dunedin!...Just NEVER stops does it DiSpirito????!!
Lori September 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Oh, let me add...Quality of Life? We go back to the Forgotten Southside...I have a private home...it needs painting! So is the "Southside" part of that "broad based", "inclusive" package...So sick of the crap in this town....Paying taxes and getting NOTHING in return!
Cecilia September 25, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Painting homes as a quality of life issue??? What about the poor home owners who are hanging onto their homes by the skin of their teeth? Now you are going to add insult to injury by adding code violation assessments if their house needs painting? You really think that will help? C'Mon, REALLY? Surely at this point in the economy, we have larger more pressing issues that need to be addressed....Do Not Get Me Started........
Lori September 26, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Cecilia...Think the wrong people are running this city???
Michael J. Kovac September 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I've lived in Dunedin for 14 yrs and not one time has someone said to me go check out the Dunedin Historical Museum. Does the city commission really think this $200k improvement is going to elevate the community? Wasn't there a sizable chunk of grant money used about ten years ago to fix up this very same piece of property? The money would be better spent on vouchers for people to fix up their properties!
Lori September 26, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Lived here +25 years...Entire house of cards needs to be brought down in this city...But then again everyone says vote to oust in November...That won't do any good...They all follow-suit....
-Ed Harris- September 28, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Please take the time to find out the details about this money. It is not the kind of money you are all thinking it is. These are grants that are specific for the type of use they can fund. Not just money that can be used for homes. I feel your pain i really do but this money is good for the Art Center if they can get it. As for the city, it will be changing very soon! Be sure and vote for Bob and Heather and send the Dave & Dave show down the rode packing! We can catch back up to where we were to be with the right people in office!

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