Arts of Collin County Commission, Inc.
Arts of Collin County Commission, Inc.
- City of Allen, Allen, TX
- City of Frisco Texas, Frisco, TX
- City of Plano Texas, Plano, TX
Please note that all data below was derived from the collaboration's nomination for the Collaboration Prize. None of the submitted data were independently verified for accuracy.
In 2000 4 cities in North Texas, Allen, Frisco, McKinney and Plano were experiencing rapid growth in jobs and population. There was an increased desire for the development of arts and cultural facilities in this suburban area of Dallas Metroplex. Relocating families were interested in quality of life, communities in economic development. The cities determined that by joining together they could build and operate a world-class 2100-seat performing arts center, within a larger arts district, than any one community could support on its own. Over 100 community leaders and volunteers participated in a feasibility study. The four cities placed the issue on the ballot in 2002. Allen, Frisco and Plano voters approved $19 million on public bond funds. McKinney failed by 73 votes and did not continue as a partner. After community input and debate in all three cities they determined to move forward with the three partners and anticipated private investment to fully fund the capital development costs of the facilities. An Interlocal Agreement was entered into by the cities defining the scope and roles of each organization. The cities then created a separate local government corporation and 501 c 3, The Arts of Collin County Commission, with an independent Board, appointed by the three cities and an Executive Director hired by the Board.
The group of over 100 volunteers was made up of various committees, one of which was governance. The Governance Committee recommended a basic structure for the new organization which was used by the three cities to develop an Interlocal Agreement, Articles of Incorporation and By Laws for the new local government corporation. The documents were adopted by all three City Councils. The structure created an independent organization with a Board made up of members appointed by the cities, and an Executive Director hired by the Board. The structure establishes independence, however the cities did reserve oversight and authority in a number of areas, particularly related to financial matters. As the organization has matured documents have been reviewed and amended where needed to facilitate smooth operations. As the organization moves from a fundraising/planning mode into an operating mode when the arts park and hall are complete it is anticipated that additional amendments to the documents will be made to address autonomy and independence as the organization matures and demonstrates capability to the cities to function more independently. The organization has been successful in securing over 100 acres of donated land, managing the design process for the site and performance hall and conducting a successful capital campaign that has raised $10.8 million in private funding.
The biggest challenge we have faced is communication between all the partners in the collaboration. We have made an extra effort to put communication mechanisms in place for keeping the parters informed and "in the loop" with a number of specific programs and activities. Each partner city appoints a staff representative as liaison to attend Board meetings and receive communications. Regular meetings are held between the Mayors of each city and the Executive Director. Monthly updates are provided to the City Managers of each city from the Executive Director, we incluse representatives recommended by the cities on our Advisory Committee and, have a process for collaboration and input on the annual budget as well as throughout the design and development phases of the project. We have held several meetings over the years of all Mayors and City Council Members from each city, and the Board of Directors, to update all on the progress of each stage of planning and design, and to ensure that all Council Members and Board Members are up-to-date on status. The Executive Director meets and updates the Councils at their own meetings on a regular basis and meets, as requested, one-on-one with Council Members from the three cities.
We are still in the pre - construction and operation phase of the facility. The impact of the vision on the community is measured at this point in the strong support we have had throughout our BRAVO! Capital Campaign to raise private matching funds to finance the balance of $66 million construction cost, in addition to the three partner cities' commitment of $57 million total. Local symphony, theater, dance and arts groups; as well as school districts and the business community are strong supporters of the creation of this cultural arts district in our area. The arts park will meet the needs of over 40,000 students and 800,000 + residents for a high quality local venue to support the fine arts programs and students in our schools, provide access to national and international musicians and artists for performances as well as educational opportunites through master classes, to provide a home for our local arts groups including: two symphonies; numerous ballet and dance companies; multiple theater groups, as well as visual artists through a gallery and future development of studio work/live spaces. The donation of a 100+ acre site also provides the opportunity to preserve 32 acres of open space, develop a sculpture garden, outdoor performance and festival meadow, native demontration gardens, and serve as a model for sustainable development in the building and grounds. The impact of this "central park" on the cultural lives of the residents of the north Texas area will be significant as the project is developed.
This is a unique collaboration between multiple cities to undertake the development of a performing arts center. Previously cities, and other units of local government, have created partnerships in areas of basic government services; such as transportation, police and fire, and water.
We believe that this is the first collaboration between three cities to create a performin arts venue. The vision of the cities to create this regional effort to meet the broader needs of the area, in a way that could not financially be supported by any of the communities individually, is a model of progress and movement away from the narrower vision of the past of working primarily within ones' own "city limits" in sometimes duplicative ways, that could not always be successful because of limited resources. The willingness to pool financial and talent resources to provide this creative solution to the strongly expressed desire and need of residents and businesses will enable these partner cities to support, nurture and expand the cultural arts across the boundaries of their communities and beyond to the larger north Texas area. It is a model of common sense and fiscal responsibilty to provide an amenity that impacts the quality of life and provides economic benefits for all residents and businesses, either directly or indirectly, as a result of the collaboration to develop and successfully operate the regional arts park and performing arts center.