New JACC Project Raises Questions from Norton Gregory

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - While just about everyone who testified at the special Assembly meeting is in favor of adding ways to increase the arts in Juneau, there were some criticisms about the proposed project and how public funding would come into play.

    Former Assemblymember and mayoral candidate, Norton Gregory brought up some things that he would like to see addressed in regards to a New Juneau Arts and Culture Center.  

    Gregory wants to see a new JACC meet many needs in the community.

    "The arts play a major role in our community and I am supportive of arts in Juneau. However, we need to make sure that we are creating a facility that will meet the needs of many, not just a few."

    "I had a few questions about the new JACC, one of them being is there a business plan or are we simply supposed to operate under the pretense that if we build it they will come? I am reluctant to believe that the new JACC would bring many new visitors to our community. In addition to that, the increased property tax may actually hinder Juneau's growth due to our high cost of living."

    There was also the question of which groups exactly will be able to use the new JACC and in what capacity.

    "Is the new JACC that's being proposed big enough for the Symphony? Can they get all of their equipment on the stag? Is the new JACC too big for Perseverance Theatre in driving up their cost to produce plays? Who will be utilizing the facility once it's constructed?"

    "I think it would be extremely helpful to the Assembly and the community to understand who those user groups are and what's going to happen. Many of those details, I feel, have been left out of prior conversations."

    Aside from that, there are a lot of areas in Juneau that may have a higher priority.

    "Who is going to end up taking care of the JACC once it is constructed? Where is that money going to come from or are we going to add that to our existing debt that we have right now? The CBJ has approximately $300 million dollars in deferred maintenance on existing infrastructure that is owned publicly."

    "I think we need to focus on maintaining what we have here in our community before taking on new infrastructure projects that will be owned by the CBJ."

    Supporters of the new JACC project have said that they will continue seeking funding sources and are still on the search for a way for the CBJ to be a part of it. They have already raised about $5 million dollars through various funds and donations.

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