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City seeks input on arts center

Last week the City of Rosemount Parks and Recreation leaders asked local art and entertainment groups to attend an open house and brainstorming meeting at the former St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Rosemount. The church and school building, which the city has bought for future community use, is currently being considered for redevelopment as a local arts and entertainment arena.

The group that attended the open house was a collection of park and recreation employees, Rosemount Area Arts Council members and city representatives, along with local art enthusiasts representing theater, music, cultural and art programs.

"The reason we had the meeting was to try to get input from local arts, music and theater groups," said Dan Schultz, Rosemount Parks and Recreation director. "We wanted to get their initial thoughts and ideas on what sort of improvements might be needed to the church for those types of uses."

Overall, Schultz is happy with the what he heard. He was hoping to get information concerning how many groups would be interested in using the area, along with developing areas of improvement for the structure.

Schultz said it was positive feedback to know all of the groups present would be interested in coming to the space for performances, displaying art, or hosting art courses.

Questions were raised about topics such as lighting and acoustic improvements if the area is used as a performance space. Schultz said the first improvement to be made to the structure will most likely concern its accessibility. When the church was built, accessibility issues were not taken into consideration as often, requiring additions to the building that may include ramps and lifts.

The next step in using the building will include further discussion with the city council about improvements to the structure. Another key issue to be discussed is cost and finding a way to pay for the project. Last year Rosemount voters rejected a referendum that would have paid for renovations at the church and construction of an athletic facility.

"Right now we have not discussed the referendum again," Schultz said. "My guess is that will not happen in the near future. I don't think the council at this point has felt an interest in bringing that referendum back."

Instead, current cost options include possible state funding.

"We haven't truly identified what the use (of the structures) will be," Schultz said. "Over time we will have to decide what niche we have of interest in the arts. That will be decided by user groups, if performing arts is the highest demand, or display arts, or more singing or music. We haven't decided exactly what will be in the building. We know that Rosemount is going to continue to grow and we want to be sure we are flexible to meet as many needs as we can."

Anyone interested in learning more about the building or wanting to submit comments regarding future concerns or areas of improvement can call the Parks and Recreation office or e-mail recreation supervisor Lisa Maurer at