“On Aug 28, I convened a meeting here in my office with key stakeholders in the city regarding the governor’s Learn 365 grant program,” Mayor Hopkins said. “At that meeting, …
“On Aug 28, I convened a meeting here in my office with key stakeholders in the city regarding the governor’s Learn 365 grant program,” Mayor Hopkins said. “At that meeting, those attending included myself, superintendent of schools, school committee chairperson, city council president, city council minority leader, the executive director of CCAP and members of my administration.”
According to Mayor Hopkins, the purpose of that initial meeting was to identify potential sites or facilities to house a community center using 100 percent of federal funds for programming as defined by the governor’s Learn365 plan. Those programs include education, health monitoring, and jobs.
“It is my recommendation to work with CCAP to administer these programs in cooperation with the school department as this social services agency is adept at executing such programs,” Mayor Hopkins said.
“To develop these programs, we intend to survey the public and gather their input so as to have a strong focus on the true needs of our community,” Hopkins continued. “This feedback would be highly valued and incorporated into our programming.”
The mayor said the result of the meeting was that this group unanimously requested his administration to explore various options for the use of the over $6 million in federal grant funds.
“I was asked to perform limited due diligence to determine the feasibility of the potential acquisition of the Park Theater building, the Arlington school elementary building once that student population is merged with the new Gladstone school, constructing a new facility on city owned land, and possibly acquiring land and constructing a facility,” Hopkins explained. “Since then, my team has been looking into all of these various possibilities.”
“I want to be clear - At no time did I recommend nor propose the Park Theater,” he added. “Any decision will be determined in concert with key stakeholders.”
As to the Park Theater building, Mayor Hopkins said the city has conducted a cost assessment as to improvements needed to modify the facility to become an active and vibrant community center. The cost to improve the facility is estimated in excess of $3 million.
“Due to this substantial cost, and any cost of acquisition, the park theater does not seem to be a practical option for a community center,” Hopkins said. “Although not a proposal, we will continue to look seriously at the possibility of converting the Arlington School into a community center.”
“I need to be clear, once again, I have not and still am not proposing or recommending any facility until proper due diligence is performed and shared with the public and key stakeholders that were part of that August 28th meeting,” he concluded. “In the meantime, I will continue my efforts to support the key business and historic facility that is the Park Theater as an economic and cultural driver for the Rolfe Square area.”