The Maple Leaf Music Venue and Performing Arts Center is to be a Brown County, IN government-owned and managed venue. It is a 12.5 million dollar facility that is funded by revenue from the Brown County Innkeepers Tax.
The intent of the documentation (this post) is to keep track of the evolution and impact of the project over time and compare the expected results with the actual.
The complete business plan for this government-owned and managed venue appears to be a work in process. Current efforts (July 2018) identified a need for a strategic plan.
- Example – Music Theater Business Plan
- Maple Leaf Business Plan Rev 11-06-17
- More info: Small Business Administration – Build Your Business Plan
- Key Terms and Definitions.
PHASE II — Management and Construction – Feb 27, 2018, to Present
In addition to the coverage of Maple Leaf provided in the Brown County Democrat newspaper, I’ve also included links to the Brown County Democrat and Brown County Matters Facebook posts.
- Feb 19, 2019. Maple Leaf venue has new name — but not for long? The music venue coming to Brown County this summer has a new name, but it might not keep it. … Changing the name from “Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center” to “Sundown at Salt Creek” was approved by a vote of 4 to 2 at the Maple Leaf Management Group meeting last week. … However, in an email Monday morning, venue Executive Director Dana Beth Evans said that “further discussions will be held to determine a name that better reflects our values and vision.”
- Feb 12, 2019. Maple Leaf is growing: Venue work progressing; name change possible
- Feb 12, 2019. BCD Facebook Post and comments
- Over the winter, 620 people in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Louisville were surveyed to gauge their interest in the 2,000-seat music venue and Brown County, what they thought about the name “Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center,” and whether or not they’d stay the night here if they came to a show.
- Seventy percent said they would stay overnight in Brown County either before or after an event at the Maple Leaf. That’s music to the management group’s ears.
- Herring said he liked the name, “Sundown at Salt Creek,” but he wished the group would have had this conversation six months ago.
- At their meeting this month, the Brown County Council will be asked to approve a resolution allowing the Brown County Maple Leaf Building Corporation to enter into a line of credit agreement with the State Bank of Lizton. The line of credit is for $200,000.
- Jan 19, 2019. House Bill 1554. Rep. Chris May.
- DIGEST Performing arts center admissions tax. Authorizes counties that: (1) have a population of less than 15,500; and (2) own an indoor performing arts center with a seating capacity of at least 2,000 patrons; to impose a $1 admissions tax upon admissions to the indoor performing arts center. Specifies how the revenue may be used. Permits the county to enter into an operating lease with the convention and visitors commission and a contract with a nonprofit organization to operate the indoor performing arts center.
- Feb 12, 2019, TOWN NEWS: How to support Maple Leaf growth; U.S. Bicycle route; green initiatives
- Kelso, whose background is in infrastructure development, wondered what the town could do to support the development of additional hotels if they are needed, such as better controlling the amount of rainwater that flows into the wastewater treatment plant when it doesn’t need to be treated. … If infrastructure planning can be done beforehand, the time it would take to develop new hotels or new restaurants could be cut down, Kelso said.
- Jan 16, 2019. Brown County Matters – Facebook Post. Maple Leaf is well on it’s way to becoming a music venue — better transparency, likely matching grant from the Foundation, etc.
- Suggestions. A statement that there will be no taxpayer bailout and any excess profits revert to the county and not the Community Foundation.
- Dec 31, 2018. BCD, Top 10 stories of 2018.
- BCD Facebook Post – Selecting Top Stories – 18 comments/votes
- Number 3. Maple Leaf project progresses …. Interesting take on the highlights. Read the story, to include references and then look at the “rest of the story” below. Example — see references to the concerns expressed by Bill Austin
- BCD Facebook Post – Selecting Top Stories – 18 comments/votes
- Dec 18, 2018. Letter: Maple Leaf participating in grant opportunity
- The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center is very excited to announce a $1 for $1 matching grant for money raised by the Maple Leaf between Oct. 1 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019. This grant is made possible by the Brown County Community Foundation along with the Howard Hughes Estate.
- The Howard Hughes Estate will provide $25,000 with the remaining $12,500 granted by the Foundation for a total of $37,500. The goal is to assist the Maple Leaf in raising a total of $75,000 or more for construction costs.
- Dec 11, 2018. Meeting Minutes Maple Leaf Mgmt Group
- Strategic Plan completed.
- The Board had previously approved a line of credit for the Maple Leaf. That has now been approved and opened by the bank of Lizton for $200,000.
- Currently raised $12,500 toward a $37,500 matching grant opportunity. We have a 1 for 1 grant with the foundation and the Howard Hughes foundation and a 50 cents on the dollar Lilly grant. These matches/donations will need to be pledged to the BCCF before the end of December.
- Nov 23, 2018. BCM Facebook — Maple Leaf – Financial Management. Response by co-president (Barry Herring) Maple Leaf Mgmt Group, regarding construction on interest payments.
- Nov 20, 2018. Built from the ground up: Executive excited to build new destination. ” She knows not everyone in the community is happy about the venue opening.” … “I’m listening to all sides of it and not forming an opinion because there’s three sides to every story. There’s your side, their side, and then somewhere in the middle is where you’ll find the truth. I’m being very open-minded and not getting input from anybody,” she said.
- You also have to be realistic that it’s a 2,000-seat venue and the concerts that go to the stadiums, the Jason Aldeans, the Garth Brooks and the Taylor Swifts aren’t coming to here. Everybody needs to get that expectation and understand those are big arena names. We are a small arena,” she said.
- “We’re going to get people who are starting out or that are coming down. You might get that really big name that’s wanting to do small, intimate venues, but you can’t hang your hat on that all the time.”
- She said the Maple Leaf could even be a sort of “launch pad” for up-and-coming artists. “That would be a great thing to be known for,” she said.
- BCD Facebook Post – Comments on the article
- Nov 20, 2018. BCD LETTER: A referendum on Maple Leaf? by Tim Clark Commissioner Biddle expressed a belief that her re-election included a referendum on the Maple Performing Arts Center. I believe this is a premature conclusion.
- Nov 13, 2018. BCD. Maple Leaf lobby beams won’t be constructed by The Beamery.
- The Beamery’s owner, David Watters, said he learned his company was no longer involved after that decision was made. On Sept. 14, he said there was a lack of communication between his company and the Maple Leaf Management Group. He said his group was “diligently working on getting all the design engineering down to be able to provide the product that we were supposed to provide in a timely manner.
- “I had pretty much put my designer full-time on the project to get it done, and all the sudden was told that we’re not doing it the day after they signed the contract with another supplier,” he said.
- Nov 14, 2018. Maple Leaf and Amazon HQS – Facebook Post – BCM. Right when you think it can’t get any more interesting, a newly re-elected councilman and proponent of Maple Leaf compares the decision-making of the County commissioners and council in regards to Maple Leaf with that of the of officials from New York and Virginia regarding the concessions made to obtain the Amazon Hqs. They got “raped” in his words. Read my response on the “Facts” (Press Release”) and make your own conclusions regarding the decision-making acumen of our county commissioners and council.
- Nov 6, 2018. Maple Leaf taking shape: Amid construction, contracts also being hammered out … a survey that will be given in Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati to asses the interest in the entertainment venue, naming options, and whether or not people would be likely to stay overnight in Brown County when visiting the Maple Leaf. The price for 600 completed surveys is $16,745.
- Oct 26, 2018. Brown County Matters – Facebook Post. Speculation regarding any possible distribution of profits of 75% to the Community Foundation and 25% to Government. Post by Sherrie Mitchell asking for input on the plan
- Oct 21, 2018. Brown County Matters – Facebook Post Taxpayer funding and the role of government. Should the revenue collected from your income and property taxes ever be used to support funding for the Playhouse or the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center?
- Brown County Matters – Facebook Post and Comments
- Oct 20, 2018. Brown County Matters – Facebook Post – Maple Leaf – construction (Beam issue) and governance – Maple Leaf Management Group – response from Barry Herring
- Sept 26, 2018. Candidate questionnaire – Response by Darren Byrd (page 17) Brown County Council on the justification for approving Maple Leaf: ” Locally, we have been waiting for almost 10 years for the return of the Opry. We had a few circumstantial choices. 1: Publicly fund a private venture with your tax money. 2: Continue to wait with no end in sight. 3: Use local tax money to build a new place. 4: Step outside the norm and fund a resident-owned venue with funds that do not subject locals to any burden or risk, but actually benefit all of us with a return to economic activity, and returns excess profits to the county taxpayer. We chose 4.”
- At the candidate forum on Oct 3, 2018, Darry Byrd also stated that it was decided that excess profits will be donated to the Community Foundation (75%) and 25% would go to the county. (1) Another candidate for council (Dave Redding) remarked that he would not rule out a loan for Maple Leaf using taxpayer money. Note that commissioners (Diana Biddle) and councilmen (Dave Critser, Darren Byrd) are on record of stating that no taxpayer money would be used to fund the project (with the exception of the 30K used to pay the “county’s share” of legal expenses.
- (1) Regarding the 75/25 profit agreement: Facebook response from
“Darren Byrd: Tim J. Clark, it is part of the Administration Agreement between the Management Group, the Building Corp, the CVC, and the County. It was a result of the public negotiations between all of the groups and boards. There were two things that I and others insisted on; this would not be allowed to put local tax payers/residents on the hook in any way, AND that tax payers would receive benefits from it. That was my main requirement in order to even consider this. All funds will go to the Operations and Maintenance fund. After overhead and operations are covered, a Capital Improvement (buffer) fund must be maintained at $1M. All revenue after that will be divided between the Community Foundation and the County (tax payers.) This is in a written agreement and isn’t subject to future Council discretion. Council has already agreed and that was resolved in the Agreement. It can’t be reneged on. (Also, part of the operating costs is a Payment in Lieu of Taxes that will cover the Property Tax equivalent to the county. (ML will be paying property tax.)”
- August 22, 2018. Guest Opinion: Tim Clark. Maple Leaf: A Failing strategy? For “non-supporters” of Maple Leaf, the process used to fast-track this project can be characterized by deficiencies in three areas: Check and balances on power, due diligence and respect.
- Brown County Democrat – Facebook Responses to the article
- My last post : “To summarize a key point, if private money was being used for this project, we would not be having this discussion. When using money collected from taxes (aka tax money), you apply a different standard. Citizens (see Constitution) have the responsibility to ensure that projects will result in outcomes where everyone benefits or at least, are not any worse off in the long-term. Meeting this standard requires that you have public meetings and ask citizens for their input, ideas, and feedback. Since only the commissioners and council had the authority to approve the ML project, these meetings should have been conducted by the commissioners and council. Elected representatives “SERVE” the citizens. FACT is that despite assurances to the contrary, these public meetings NEVER took place – we were NOT served. A few individuals decided what was best for everyone and now expect to have community support for “their” project. Is the process applied to fast-track this project one that anyone should be proud of?”
- The Facebook posts identified the need to identify and define terms.
- Brown County Democrat – Facebook Responses to the article
- August 18, 2018. MAPLE LEAF BRIEFS: Entertainment tax; director search; naming rights; permit received
- July 25, 2018. GUEST OPINION: Tim Clark. Maple Leaf: Will more money be a recurring theme? This project was sold as “too good to fail.” Let’s hope that’s true. The public and voters will determine if the decisions and process used to fast-track this project are in the best interests of all county citizens.
- July 17, 2018. Additional loan sought for Maple Leaf project Not long after the groundbreaking on July 10, the Maple Leaf Management Group voted to allow co-president Barry Herring to look for another $200,000 loan. That money would allow wooden beams made by local company The Beamery to be…
- July 17, 2018. New ‘leaf’ turned: Work begins on performing arts center Barry Herring stepped to the podium under the tent shading spectators from the sun. Programs were being used as fans against the summer heat.
- June 27, 2018. Brown County Playhouse in need of financial help, By Jeff Foster. My concern is that the taxpayer-backed Maple Leaf (and I hear Hard Truth Hills will soon boast its own amphitheater) will make it even more difficult for the Playhouse to thrive. …Compounding the problem is a general downtick in support for local live entertainment …Perhaps Brown County is so special it can buck the trend and attract plenty of ticket-buyers. One certainly hopes so. Still, it could be argued that spending millions on new, larger venues (or propping up older ones) is not prudent, as it ignores this cultural shift in people’s down-time habits.
- June 26, 2018, BCD: Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center groundbreaking date set Shovels will break ground at the site of the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center on Tuesday morning, July 10. The announcement comes more than a…
- “We’re about $680,000 away to get the venue of our dreams,” said project co-president Barry Herring. .. Cuts included not having wooden beams in the venue’s lobby and not paving the parking field, he reported at the June 14 Brown County Convention and Visitors Commission meeting.
- At the June 14 CVC meeting, board member Mike Patrick said donations could come anonymously from the community, … “If there’s someone in the community willing to spend $26,000 to move that blue house, surely there is somebody willing to spend $600,000 to pave a parking lot,” he said.
- May 22, 2018. Maple Leaf sewer service debate settling?
- May 22, 2018. Maple Leaf arts center pushes on: Construction bid accepted; cuts made to project After negotiating to cut more than $700,000 from the initial bid, the Maple Leaf Management Group recommended that the Brown County Commissioners hire Brandt Construction Inc. to build the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center. The commissioners unanimously approved that recommendation at their May 16 meeting.
- The agreement states that 75 percent of remaining excess funds per calendar year will go to the Brown County Community Foundation — if the improvement account sits at $1 million. If the Foundation ever ceases to exist, the money will go to a “similar non-profit corporation with a similar mission in the county,” the agreement states.
- May 8, 2018. Maple Leaf bid opening pushed back. Legal counsel reviewing plans to see what contractors included in bids
- May 2, 2018. Maple Leaf – Stop Digging by Tim J. Clark.Published in the May 2, 2018 edition of the Democrat. with the title: ‘ Stop digging’ on Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center. There is wisdom in the metaphor that states that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
- May 1, 2018. Letter: Location of new performing arts center ‘troubling’
I picked up a copy of the spring Visitors Guide and read the article about the Maple Leaf … That facility — its location and the infrastructure it will demand — could signal real problems for Nashville’s continued success, and not just for the Brown County Playhouse.
- April 24, 2018. Residents scrutinize Maple Leaf processes. Blog post about the article.
- “… having an independent review of the county-owned concert hall project before bids to build it are opened makes sense. There is insufficient transparency, and too much dependence on one person, and lack of oversight. I don’t want my name to be included as being the oversight when I am not. … I was supportive, and am supportive if it’s done right.” –Bill Austin, who resigned as a member of the Maple Leaf Building Corp and is a former County Commissioner.
- April 17, 2018. Sewer service territory questions emerge on Maple Leaf project (Note: Unlikely that this issue was considered in the planning by the county)
- March 27, 2018. Legal Notice: Bids sought for Maple Leaf center construction – Brown County Democrat NOTICE TO BID Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the BROWN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, together with the BROWN COUNTY MAPLE LEAF MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., Nashville, Indiana, hereinafter referred to as the Owner, will receive sealed proposals for the …
- Feb 28, 2018, Brown County Democrat. Visitors Bureau, Maple Leaf group trying to budget innkeepers tax revenue
- Maple-Leaf-Projections-1 20180228
- Project Budget approved by the bank: “Schedule of Cost Breakdowns-Hard Costs and Soft Costs: Maple Leaf Hard and Soft Costs
- Oct 29, 2018. Updated Hard and Soft Costs Maple Leaf Draw 7 part 1 Updated Hard and Soft Costs
Organization: As of April 10, 2018.
- Maple Leaf Building Corporation. Robyn Bowman, Mike Laros, Susan Gaudin (Resigned)) – Bill Austin (resigned)
Dec 19, 2017. Maple Leaf Building Corporation meeting
- Other: Registered Agent: Attorney Andrew Szakaly, Jr. (Resigned Dec 2018). Replaced by Executive Director Dana Beth Evans (Dec 2018).
- Dec 19, 2017. Maple Leaf Building Corporation meeting Wednesday Members have been appointed to the Maple Leaf Building Corporation, and they’re having their first meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Brown County Maple Leaf Management Group INC.
- Executive Director Dana Beth Evans, Selected Nov 2018.
- Barry Herring, Tourism Commission – Co-President
- Ault, Tourism Commission – Co-President
- Diana Biddle, County Commissioner
- Darren Byrd, County Council
- Bruce Gould, CVB Board of Directors
- Dena Patrick, Treasurer (Resigned Dec 2018)
- Jim Schultz, At Large
- Reference: Maple Leaf Organization as of April 10, 2018
PHASE I — Approval Process – April 2017 – Jan 2018.
Decision Authority: The commissioners and all council members voted to approve funding for the project. They declined to hold any public meetings to get input from the citizens regarding the desirability and concerns related to the project.
- Commissioners: Dave Anderson, Diana Biddle, Jerry Pittman.
- County Council: David Critser, John Price, Glenda Stogsdill, Debbie Guffey, Darren Byrd, Keith Baker, Art Knight.
- Maple Leaf Project Committee:
- CVC: Barry Herring (Brown County Inn), Kevin Ault (The Seasons Lodge, Hotel Nashville),
- CVB: Bruce Gould (Cornerstone Inn,) Jane Ellis (CVB Director).
- Other: Doug Hardin, Venue Designer, Jim Schultz, Community member
The “Fast-Track” Timeline
- August 22, 2017, Area Plan Commission (APC) – Recommends zoning change. APC Member Paul Navarro identified the need to delay the vote pending the results of a traffic study. He was the only member that voted no on zoning.
- September 6, 2017, 9:00 A.M. Commissioner Meeting. Zoning approved. It was stated that the approval was for zoning and not the project and that public meetings would be held regarding the desirability of the project. These meetings never happened.
- November 15, 2017. Commissioners approve the project.
- November 20, 2017. Council approves project.
- Dec 20, 2017. Commissioners pass a final resolution approving the project.
SUMMARY – Extracted from the following article: Dec 27, 2017. GUEST OPINION: By Tim Clark. The role of process in the future of Brown County. The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) project and the process used to fast-track approval may represent a turning point for the future of the county.
- In April 2017, owners of hotels and inns, who are also appointed to the Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) and Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) decide to use the revenue collected from the innkeeper’s tax to invest in an asset that will promote tourism. The Innkeeper’s Tax is a pass-through tax paid by the party renting the overnight accommodations.
- CVC members are appointed by the county commissioners and council. The CVB is a non-profit organization established to manage tourism related promotion on behalf of the CVC.
- CVC/CVB members decided on a music venue and performing arts center and also determined the size, location, scope, cost (12.5 million), and overall governance plan for the facility. Given that this investment is expected to result in overnight stays, their businesses will directly benefit from the investment, and the asset values of their establishments will likely increase.
- Initially, county citizens were told that revenue from the innkeeper’s tax would be used to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage for the venue. Any profits were to be used for community and county infrastructure priorities. The final terms of the deal are that profits would be used to make the mortgage payment and the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax would only be used if profits were not sufficient to make the payment.
- A common perception in the county that was reinforced by the president of the county council, may be that the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax is “their (CVC) money.” This inaccurate perception may have contributed to a lack of transparency over the years regarding the management and expenditure of these funds. This revenue, per statute, is a county asset. Commissioners and Council (elected by citizens) appoint CVC members who are subordinate to the citizens and their elected officials.
- The approval of a 12.5 million dollar loan using the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax as collateral was approved by the commissioners on Nov 15 and the county council on Nov 20. The commissioners approved another resolution approving the project on Dec 20. In case of default, the venue would become the property of the bank, and per the county council president and the county financial consultant, county taxpayers would not be obligated to assume the liability.
- No public meetings expressly focused on this important project were scheduled by the commissioners or council before their meetings to approve the project. The League of Women Voters of Brown County offered to facilitate a public meeting to address citizen questions, concerns, and issues regarding the project. Members of the CVC, the CVB and the informal team working on the Maple Leaf project declined to participate, as did several key elected officials.
- The editor of the only newspaper in the county – The Brown County Democrat, did recuse herself from being the primary reporter because of a conflict of interest — her husband serves on the CVC. The Democrat welcomed opposing opinions in Guest Columns and Letters to the Editor.
Jan 23, 2018. Working toward ‘a more perfect union’ By Tim Clark, a guest columnist. ”As individuals, we may not have too much direct influence over what happens politically at the national level of government. At the county level, our efforts can certainly be directed to local issues. We can choose to determine the quality of government that we want and need.
- In my first guest column on this topic, “The role of process in county’s future,” I identified that the process used to fast-track the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) might represent a turning point for the future of the county.
- In the follow-up column, “Coming together is a beginning,” I identified possible outcomes from the fast-track process regarding scenarios that included “status quo plus,” “transformative” and “collaborative planning.”
- The feedback I received on the columns suggested additional scenarios that included identifying the best case and a worse case. Best case is that MLPAC exceeds all expectations. A worse case is that the venue does not meet expectations, requiring a decision as to the disposition of an underperforming venue.
Jan 11, 2018. Land, loan set for Maple Leaf project – Brown County Democrat. The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center officially has a home and a $12.5 million bank loan to build it. The Maple Leaf Building Corporation signed an agreement with Chuck Snyder on Dec. 20 to buy his land. The sale closed Dec. 28. A tentative agreement had been in place since July to buy 13.472 acres …
Jan 11, 2018. GUEST OPINION: ‘Coming together is a beginning’… By Tim Clark, guest columnist. In the first part of my series, “The role of process in county’s future,” I suggested that the process applied to fast-track approval of the $12.5 million investment in the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) might represent a turning point for the future of the ... Three scenarios – Status Quo Plus, Transformative (Party Central), Collaborative Planning.
Jan 9, 2018. Letter: Maple Leaf Committee needs to answer questions To the editor: It is obvious to me that the Maple Leaf Committee is not going to answer questions about the performing arts center and to have “no more forums.” Someone needs to immediately file a lawsuit against the committee and compel them to answer all questions in writing! Michael B. Smith …
Dec 26, 2017. Letter: In response to Maple Leaf ‘no more forums … – Brown County Democrat To the editor: When we saw the headline in this past week’s paper, we were shocked. After much thought, we have concluded that this letter is necessary. As far as we know, no true forum which seemed designed to solicit genuine input from our county’s residents on the viability of the proposed Maple Leaf …
Dec 26, 2017. Letter: More questions about the Maple Leaf center – Brown County …To the editor: Someone once told me “If you’re not prepared to deal with the answer, don’t ask the question.” It seems to me that many of the questions raised since the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center idea was introduced have not been fully considered or answered.
Dec 19, 2017. Maple Leaf Building Corporation meeting Wednesday. Members have been appointed to the Maple Leaf Building Corporation, and they’re having their first meeting Wednesday afternoon. Local attorney Andy Szakaly will serve as the registered agent for the Maple Leaf Building Corporation.
Dec 12, 2017. Brown County Democrat. Maple Leaf committee: No more forums Sufficient input time has been given at past public meetings, group says. The offer by the League of Women Voters to facilitate a public meeting was refused.
Nov 28, 2017. Council approves pledging innkeepers tax to fund Maple Leaf venue The Brown County Council voted unanimously last week to pledge innkeepers tax revenue to pay the mortgage of the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center. That was the third of three board votes needed to move the project along to the next step.
Nov 22, 2017, Print Edition Brown County Democrat:
- Maple Leaf funding progresses. Published on Facebook Nov 17, 2017, as Steps taken to fund Maple Leaf venue
- Guest Column: Planning for project success is a choice. Published on Facebook Nov 21, 2017, as Guest Opinion: Success is a choice, Tim Clark
- “Without better planning, we will continue to take a reactive “whack-a-mole” approach as issues bubble to the surface.”
Nov 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m. County Council Meeting. County council unanimously approved the project. The audio recording of the meeting (See: Public Meeting Audio, County Council Minutes Audio Link 11/20/2017). Copy of the questions provided to the commissioners on Nov 15 also provided to the council.
County Council Statement 20 Nov 2017. Copy of the questions provided to the commissioners meeting on Nov 15 also provided to the council.
Nov 17, 2017, Steps taken to fund Maple Leaf venue. The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center has received two votes of approval from government groups, and it will go before the Brown County Council for an additional vote on financing Monday night.
Nov 15, 2017, 9 a.m. Commissioner Meeting. Commissioners voted to approve a resolution requesting council approval for financing. Copy of questions provided to the commissioners.
Nov 6, 2017, Commissioner and Council Meeting. Maple Leaf update provided to commissioners and council in a “working session”- not advertised to the public. Copy of the timetable provided at the meeting: Oct 24, 2017, Project Timetable.
Nov 1, 2017 9 a.m. Commissioners Meeting. Maple Leaf update provided to commissioners – not advertised to the public.
Sep 20, 2017. Guest Column: A study of tourism and economic sustainability. By Tim Clark, “However, tourism, by itself, has not and cannot provide a sustainable economic future for Brown County. Further, too much tourism can have …”
- Note: The proponents of the Maple Leaf project claimed that Maple Leaf “…. could be what it takes to turn things around economically for Brown County.” This article was written to offer another perspective. The county is funded primarily by income and property tax.
- Brown County Redevelopment Commission member Tim Clark asked the commissioners to postpone the vote until their Sept. 20 evening meeting in order for more members of the public to attend.
- He had a list of questions that he said hadn’t been answered yet.
- “I can make the opposite case, that this is a terrible project for the county using the comprehensive plan,” he said.
- He asked the commissioners to allow him to do a presentation for them, but no meeting or work session was scheduled for that.
- “What I feel is that if you guys vote for this, and as everybody says it’s just going to naturally go forward, you’re going set Brown County up for a major lawsuit if one person in the county, at a venue, if one person gets hurt and does not have medical response in time or (emergency personnel) can’t get there in time,” Brandon Harris said. … Harris serves on the Nashville Development Review Commission and is working with the county RDC.
Sept 6, 2017. Memorandum to the County Commissioners preceding their vote to approve the zoning change for the Maple Leaf Music Venue. Encl 0 Memo for Commissioners 2017_09_06
July/August 2017. RDC INITIAL ANALYSIS – ENCL 6 RDC Working Draft Project Analysis and Review 201709v10a – Proposed Maple Leaf Project
August 29, 2017. Guest Opinion: Maple Leaf: What are the other options? By Tim Clark guest columnist, “The Maple Leaf in a different location (Gnaw Bone? Bean Blossom? Ski World?) could be an “anchor” facility that could support further …”
- Facebook Page: Nashville isn’t broke so don’t break it! Comments on the article
Aug 29, 2017. New developments prompt county planning discussion “Clark asked fellow members of the Brown County Redevelopment Commission on Aug. … in a permanent increase in year-round tourism in Brown County,” Clark wrote in a letter to the board.”
August 22, 2017. Letter: ‘Zoning for Maple Leaf: Not in the plan’ – Brown County Democrat ,Tim J. Clark – “Although the proposed Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center has not been formally approved by the commissioners …”
August 21, 2017. Letter to the Area Plan Commission preceding their vote for the zoning change for the Maple Leaf music venue. Encl 2a Letter to APC on Maple Leaf Zoning
Aug 17, 2017. Letters: Find a better site for Maple Leaf concert hall – Brown County … The proposed Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center would put a 2,000-seat concert hall next to one of the prime retirement communities in the state of Indiana. While the performing arts center is a good idea and has been talked about for many years, the chosen site is not only poor planning, it is a bad idea.
Aug 8, 2017. Area Plan Commission hearing RE: Rezone for Maple Leaf Center, at 600 State Road 46 East, Washington Twp., by petitioners Barry Herring and Bruce Gould
Aug 8, 2017. Letter: Maple Leaf proposal: Let’s not fail to plan By Tim J. Clark. For those where planning may be an abhorrent concept, Benjamin Franklin is credited with the axiom that: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
At the July 13, 2017, RDC meeting, a County Commissioner stated that the initial process that was outlined by the county attorneys was changed to the extent that project reviews and approval no longer required the involvement of the RDC. An updated outline and timeline has yet to be shared with the public.
- Note: When the source of funding became a loan as opposed as bond, citizens did not have the right to remonstrate. Thus no “legal” requirement to involve the RDC.
- The RDC did develop develop a plan for vetting this project through all effected government offices and the plan included holding public meetings. Commissioners declined RDC support.
- Timeline of tasks and responsibilities developed by Barnes and Thornburg. June 24 2017 B&T Timetable
- July/August 2017. RDC INITIAL ANALYSIS 17_08 v10a RDC Project Analysis and Review Working Draft Proposed Maple Leaf Project
June 27, 2017. Tourism leaders propose building new concert hall
- With today’s numbers, Herring said innkeeper’s tax revenue would be substantially more than that. He predicted occupancy at lodging establishments would probably double with a new concert hall in the county. … Other than the improved revenue all tourist-related establishments are likely to see, Herring said he has no personal stake in this venture. As a career builder and developer of shopping centers, he’s been volunteering his time and expertise. (Herring owns the Brown County Inn that will benefit from this project)
- The hope behind the project is to drive economic impact in “tens of millions of dollars,” Harden said. … “That’s why it’s being done,” he said. “It’s not like this gold nugget is going to feed everyone; it’s based on economic impact.”
- Schultz said the increased tax revenue coming into the county could be a big benefit in other ways, too, such as funding infrastructure improvements and offsetting the county’s property tax losses from having so much tax-exempt land here.
- “The spirit is to be to benefit everyone,” Herring said.
- “It’s been said for years that tourism is Brown County’s only industry, and this is a huge step in the way of economic development,” Gould said.
June 20, 2017. Building a destination: Maple Leaf Performing Arts plans “A group of people were waiting for the Brown County Playhouse doors to open for a public rollout meeting and presentation about the Maple …”
- This presentation of the proposed project (not a concept) was an extended version of what was introduced at the April 9 meeting (see below).
- Slide 18. “Statute provides that those funds be distributed to non profit agencies for the sole purpose of marketing Brown County to potential guests who will spend the night in the County.” WRONG. The statute does not mention a requirement for “overnight stays.”
- Slide 23. Analysis of economic impact. “Assumption” that a 2000-seat indoor music venue is “feasible” in today’s market. Assumptions supporting the economic analysis should also be analyzed as part of an independent feasibility study.
April 9, 2017. Brown County Redevelopment Commission (RDC) members attended a presentation that outlined the concept for the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC). In a follow-up contact following the presentation, the RDC reinforced their support for the concept and the importance of aligning the project in the context of a county plan and strategy. The RDC had no further involvement in the project.
- The adhoc group that developed the proposal requested that the information presented remain confidential/secret – not to be discussed. The reason provided was due to ongoing negotiations for land. It was stated at the meeting that two (2) million was budgeted for land purchase and site prep. The Snyder Farm site was purchased for 2 million or approximately $145K an acre.
- At this point, funding was going to be provided through a bond that would have given citizens the right to remonstrate. Community meetings would be critical in order to obtain citizen support for the project.
- The “concept” for me was using excess revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to invest in a project (s) to promote tourism.