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Artspace - Are These Posts Reason for Concern?
I ran across a couple of posts that are critical of the Artspace in Brainerd Mn.
Should we be concerned?

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Danno Wrote:I ran across a couple of posts that are critical of the Artspace in Brainerd Mn.
Should we be concerned?

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Yes, we all should be concerned...thus far all the great downtown projects have been flops. The Genesee theatre has not been a catalyst for the revival of downtown, the new building across from the Genesee has not attracted any tenants and soon to be foreclosed, the old Wendy's was remodeled for a new restaurant theat never materialzed, the retail space in the new parking garage is still empty, the big condo project failed to gain enough purchasers to get over a threshold and be built, and lakeview Tower is in receivership with only a few owners.

Given the lack of success of any project downtown we should be concerned that the Karcher/Artspace project will turn out to be a section 8 success story , just like Julian Towers. The organization that is spearheading the project locally is the Waukegan Arts Council whose Board of Directors is filled with people from WDA/Mainstreet, which despite their self promotion, is a failure at acheiving any success.

I am concerned, very concerned, and so should all citizens who love this city.
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Sign me up. NOT.
Let us not forget the garden on Genesee Street that always looks as unkempt as its' patrons hanging out in the gazebo.
It would be great to redevelop the old Waukegan Building near the garden to revitalize that whole south Genesee Street area.
I think the city can only get so much out depending on what it puts into it. There's really a lot of potential there. It's sad to see downtown and half-decent buildings go to waste. The city might have to work a little harder to make sure that whatever section-8 gets brought in via ArtSpace doesn't present a problem. Not all poor are drug addled, criminals, or winos. Especially in this current economy. Oddly as it sounds, with a larger base of disadvantaged, they might be able to be a little more selective of who they get in, even among section-8. It should be made clear that it's an opportunity not to be wasted. Not to mention there's a lot of art talent that goes unappreciated and stuck with limited work or underpaying jobs. A nice location with room to do their thing just might be what it takes to make that break.

I don't see ArtSpace as hugely helping or hurting the city. But rather as something that could be leveraged either way depending on how it's managed.

If they can be more strict in policy than in some other cities, troublemakers should be sent packing to other locations and the next person in line for aid should get a shot at those apartments. A well written policy in regards to eviction could keep things nice. Blow it badly at ArtSpace, and you don't get back in. If you're on aid, your next pad made readily available in this city with assistance should be at somewhere like the Oaks. Since ArtSpace isn't the only game in town for public housing, something like this could be used to effect. (Can't complain about aid regarding the city, since you got another assisted location approved in a timely fashion. Can't complain about ArtSpace discriminating, because the next person taking that space would be on aid... Maybe with a possibility that they got a transfer from what is now your new apartment. See how that works?)
I agree with pauljs. Each town is different and I would image each location has it's own manager. We have to organize action if Artspace heads in the wrong direction. It seems like a nice mix of residents so far. Did you see the photo of the well groomed middle aged man in the news, the first one to move in? I don't care how bohemian the residents are if they are well mannered and well screened. I just went in and checked it out the other day. The building quality seems decent, not like some others in story links someone posted. The residents in the lobby were polite and welcoming.
Being on social security doesn't mean "ghetto." Perhaps the writer means public assistance/welfare. Social Security beneficiaries are either disabled or elderly. Many cancer patients are on SS for example. If one were very ill and unable to work they likely will spend all their funds on medical care/insurance until qualified for Medicare. Illness is the #1 cause of bankruptcy. So please don't label all of the poor as undesirable. Anyway as much as I recognize the need for affordable housing, placing the Towers downtown was one of the worst decisions the city ever made. I do know what you mean about Section 8. We don't want to be a dumping ground or be bleeding hearts to the extent that criminals take over. It's happening in parts of cities and suburbs all over the country though, not just here. Growing up in Wgn I'd love to see it become more middle class again but we've got to work with what we have. We need major help from the Lake County business community to get many more jobs here. We can't count on the broke local or state public sector to do it. Only jobs and skill training will improve the situation.

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