Simpson: Arts of Collin County a better project today

By E. Michael Simpson, Arts of Collin County
I get questions, e-mails and calls from people saying they are being told the Arts of Collin County is a different project than it was in 2002 when voters approved the bonds for the project. In fact, it is a much better project-see the information below:

What is the same
· Voters approved $19 million in bonds –hasn’t changed and each city has already spent $2.6 million for design and all the pre-construction work
· It is a multi-city project
· Operating and maintenance is divided by all cities involved
· The location is in one of the multiple cities involved
· Bonds must be sold by the cities to help fund the project
· Private funds must also be raised to build the project

What has Changed-and Improved since 2002
· Now have 100 plus acres of land that has been donated for the project-estimated value $22 million
· An Inter Local Agreement, Articles of Incorporation and By Laws approved and agreed to by Allen, Frisco and Plano-2004
· Now have five (5) cities involved and dividing operation and maintenance cost-Allen, Frisco and Plano plus Fairview and Melissa-more to come
· Over $10.4 million in private donations and pledges raised
· All roads around project are completed
· Construction cost reduced by $20 million due to economy-below prices of 5 years ago
· Allen, Frisco and Plano are owner cities and must approve annual budgets of the ACC
· All three owner cities must approve their bond sales before construction starts
· Over 400 individuals and companies have donated or pledged private funds to the ACC
· Bond rates are very good at this time for cities to sell bonds
· Populations of all the cities has greatly increased –effective cost per person per year is lower for the cities
What has changed-not improved since 2002
· Cities budgets may not warrant the sale of bonds at this time-Cities must decide

How is this not a better project than when approved in 2002?

E.Michael Simpson is Executive Director of the Arts of Collin County. Email the former mayor of Frisco at msimpson@artsofcollincounty.org

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