The Sedalia Central Business and Cultural District Board met Thursday evening to discuss plans for the Uptown Theater and funding Sedalia Downtown Development Inc.
SDDI has overseen remodeling to the interior and the front of the Uptown Theatre, with the ultimate goal of creating a venue for live music and old movies, according to a previous Democrat report. Renovations have been happening over the past decade, starting and stopping as funding ran out.
The board looked at redoing the front of the Uptown Theater. The board decided it should get an estimate and then would be able to move onto a bid.
“The Uptown Theater, the mayor would like that to be done. He would like the Uptown Theater facade and the front rebuilt,” member Jack Robinson said.
There was some discussion over who would be in charge of the project since it is owned by SDDI. Since the city will no longer be funding SDDI, the board members discussed what they could do to keep SDDI running.
“I don’t think that they (city council) know the value that is there which is, and it’s not a blame issue it’s a communication issue that hasn’t taken place, they are elected and they are in charge of the purse strings. They have said that there is no money going to SDDI so that’s not something we can change...” board member Laurie Ward said. “My biggest fear is the loss of the momentum or what’s all taken place.”
After SDDI is dissolved, its work would be transitioned into a new position in the Sedalia Community Development Department.
Ward suggested the board take $20,000 out of its own budget and give it to SDDI to allow it to continue, at least on a part-time basis. The rest of the board agreed and plan to take the proposal to council. Ward said she also believed this would help make the transition of responsibilities to the city easier.
“I think that the planning of doing away with SDDI has been poorly implemented...” Ward said. “So this transition is going to be awkward at best because there is nothing in place for the transition.”
“(The proposed $20,000) it gives us a bridge, it gives SDDI a little time to transition so that we don’t lose the momentum and that’s the whole purpose behind my thoughts on it,” she continued.
“My fear is that without Meg (Liston, SDDI Administrator) there, what happens? Nobody talks to anybody and it gets worse. So I think that’s a great solution,” Robinson said.
The board also decided that in order to improve communication and understanding between the board and city council, members will request that a different council member attend each board meeting.
“If I wasn’t on this board I wouldn’t know what we do…I think the No. 1 thing was a lack of communication both ways,” member Michelle Swords said. “I think that we should have done a better job at educating the council.”
The board also passed out posters for members to hand out about the alternative music the board helped obtain for the upcoming Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival.
“These concerts are only happening because of CBCD...” said board member John Simmons, who also serves as the Sedalia Community Development Director. “We want people to understand that this is a local celebration for the people of the city to come down during the festival.”
The board also recognized new banners are needed for the Katy Depot. Thirty banners last time cost roughly $2,500, according to Liston.
The board approved the purchase of four benches for a welding class for State Fair Community College. Members also discussed plans and the design for the downtown park that is planned for the corner of South Ohio Avenue and West Second Street.
Liston brought a facade grant to the board to redo the front of 120 S. Osage Ave. They will be redoing the Osage-facing side of the building, the windows, and the signage.