Arts at City Center

Arts at City Center

Orem, Tina
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Dick Clotfelter has become the most talked-about person in Bozeman. He’s won approval to build a performing arts center, parking garage complex, convention center, hotel, and a new city hall downtown. Of the $85.8 million price tag, the $41 million Performing Arts Center portion is slated to come entirely from charitable contributions and private investments. The city buildings are expected to be paid for with Special Improvement District assessments on downtown businesses, with debt funded by downtown business property taxes and with parking garage revenues.

Proponents say the project, which should be complete in 2006, will bring more culture, jobs, income, tourism, efficiency, and a higher quality of life to Bozeman. Performing arts groups would get better facilities, and downtown would get an economic boost.

Opponents say the project hasn’t been properly brought before the citizens, that the fundraising will detract from other charities, that other ideas aren’t given fair consideration, and that the production is just too “city” for Bozeman.

In addition to public support from city officials and many business owners, an MSU poll showed that 75% of those surveyed favored the project, and 64% felt it should be located downtown.

But the issue has us wondering: Is growth really a choice? Should we stem the tide, or should we use it to create more prosperity? Do we even want more prosperity?

No matter what your opinion, let this controversy be a lesson that our local officials have more influence on our daily lives than we give them credit for. Their positions about adapting to an environment versus adopting a new one are worth keeping in mind in coming elections.
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