Commission Workshop on OSS Scheduled for May 17
Updated: May 12, 2022
A Commission Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17th, at 2:30 pm at City Hall to discuss the operation and management of Old School Square.
According to City Manager Terrance Moore, the meeting will "specifically include a focus for programming and operations for the Cornell Art Museum for possible activity beginning this coming summer." It has also been reported that "the commission will...invite other arts groups to give their ideas for the future of the Cornell, one of five venues at the Old School Square campus in the heart of downtown."
Despite repeated requests for a workshop by both residents and Old School Square Center for the Arts, whose lease was terminated in a 3-2 vote last August, the Workshop will be the first held on the subject. Commissioners Ryan Boylston and Adam Frankel, who voted against the lease termination, also repeatedly cited the need for a Workshop.
The vote to terminate the OSS non-profit's lease and lack of response to the City's Request for Proposal to manage the Cultural Arts campus left the Cornell Museum shuttered and The Crest Theatre renovation unfinished when a private donor withdrew the balance of funds left to complete the project which was approximately $300,000.00. About $900,000.00 of the donor's funds was already invested in the project. All programming previously scheduled, with the exception of limited outdoor entertainment and private events, has also been suspended indefinitely, including art classes. The Parks and Recreation Department has been tasked with managing events on the campus, an expense not included in the City's 2021-2022 Budget.
The May 17th Workshop comes after the Commission voted 3-2 in early April not to enter into a proposed agreement with the Boca Museum to "activate" The Cornell Museum. The City of Delray Beach would have paid the Boca Museum $125,000 plus other expenses estimated at $100,000 for the first six months of the agreement. The OSS non-profit had paid for many of the expenses the City will now assume. The agreement was for 18 months with a three-year option to renew and specifically excluded art classes from the Boca Museum's programming. The additional expenses that would have been incurred in the agreement were not in the City's 2021-2022 budget.
During the discussion prior to the April vote, Commissioner Shirley Johnson joined Boylston and Frankel citing the need to conduct public workshops. Boylston envisioned a "summer of art at Delray, art from our city that would be held in parallel with public conversations about Old School Square and what Delray residents would like it to be."
The time, date and place of the Workshop has been posted on the City's Agendas and Meetings page; however, on May 11th the Agenda was published and the arts groups that may participate have not been divulged.
It is not clear from agenda documents if the public at large will have any role in the Workshop. Commission Workshops do not have to include "Public Comments" on their Agendas, but Commissioners may hold a vote to add it to the agenda. The regular City Commission meeting beginning at 4pm will be held immediately after the Commission Workshop.
Many residents hope the May 17th Workshop will also include a discussion about scheduling and holding public workshops or Charettes (planning meetings) as described by Commissioner Boylston in April.
For the Agenda when published: Click on "Meetings and Agendas" on the Friends of Delray Website or go directly to: https://delraybeach.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
For further details, please also read a previous Friends of Delray article: https://www.friendsofdelray.us/post/commission-votes-3-2-for-public-input-on-fate-of-old-school-square