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Editorial: Arts center could add a lot to downtown

The city of Rosemount has spent a long time planning the future of one of the its most significant buildings, but answers seem hard to come by.

Last week the city of Rosemount asked residents for their take on how to make the best use of the former St. Joseph's Church building on Highway 3. The city bought the church when the congregation moved to a new home several years ago and has been trying ever since to figure out its future. Answers -- at least specific ones -- have been hard to come by.

It seems likely the building will be ultimately be used in at least some form as an arts center. That was the conclusion of a task force set up to consider uses. And that's what the city proposed when it asked voters to support a referendum to pay for needed renovations. But what kind of art? And how much of the building? How, now that voters have turned down that referendum, will the city fund any work done at the church?

If the city builds it, who will come?

There's no shortage of questions surrounding the building's future. And the longer it takes to answer them the longer the city gets nothing out of its investment. The longer the building sits empty, the longer Rosemount misses out on an opportunity to add something truly special to its downtown.

The city of Rosemount has put a lot of effort into the redevelopment of its downtown business district. There is one project in the works and another in the planning stages. Those developments, which include retail spaces, apartments and a clinic, could bring business. An arts center would bring the people to shop at them. To live in the apartments.

Those will add substance to downtown, but an arts center could add soul.