Q: Who runs the Arts Center (by the dog park)? How much do they pay for rent, and what oversight does the city have? – Name withheld
A: Gulfport City Manager Jim O'Reilly tells us that the Gulfport Arts Center/City of Imagination (COI) uses one room – the front one – of the former shuffleboard club (between the small and large dog park). The Gulfport Arts Center/City of Imagination has a use agreement, approved by the 2009 city council, which stipulates that the Arts Center/ City of Imagination may use the site "for purposes consistent with the Gulfport Arts Center/City of Imagination mission for projects and activities only, activities forth in the initial use agreement; such as meetings to conduct organization business; public-benefit functions, including art instruction, fundraising and the sale and display of member created art projects and activities."
COI must clean and maintain the space as well as pay its own electricity, water and sewer bills.
"If the services are not metered separately for the specific area they use, COI pays the city a fee of $25.00 monthly for that portion of those services," O'Reilly says.
As for oversight, he tells us that the city has two forms: it can choose not to renew the agreement – scheduled for renewal at the end of this month at a council meeting, or, with notice, the city may terminate the agreement.
"The city expects that the City of Imagination will conduct themselves in an appropriate manner," O'Reilly says, adding that Gulfport has not received any complaints as to the group's activities.