Councilman Tibby DeJulio objected to the 40-year lease and the city’s approach creating a cultural arts center. DeJulio said he’s opposed to Sandy Springs bearing the financial cost of building space that the city doesn’t need.
“This is property that’s owned by the city and owned by the taxpayers and we’re talking about instead of getting the money from (The Commission on the Holocaust), we’re fronting the whole thing,” DeJulio said. “I cannot support giving somebody this property for 40 years for $150,000 a year. God only knows what (it) will be worth in 40 years.”
DeJulio also questioned the wisdom of constructing a new building when Sandy Springs has space already available elsewhere, including the former Heritage Sandy Springs building. The building, which is owned by the city, was operated by the nonprofit of the same name for years and permanently closed last year due to the pandemic.
“We don’t know how much space we have that’s already vacant,” he said. “We’ve got an empty building that we’ve owned and we want to go ahead and build more space.”
Surratt and Performing Arts Center Executive Director Shaun Albrechtson led a presentation on potential uses for the cultural arts center. The center would include rooftop event space and a gallery that would feature exhibits and programs to help establish Sandy Springs as a cultural destination, they said.
Surratt and the mayor want the public to give them feedback on the plans during City Council’s next regular meeting on April 20.
“You’re asking the public to give us their input on something that I’m not sure people really understand,” Councilwoman Jody Reichel said.
A presentation of the city’s plans and a questionnaire for the public about the project is available on the Sandy Springs website. www.sandyspringsga.gov