Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 08/18/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon an award of bid for a cultural arts study;
FISCAL IMPACT:
Funding is available in the Economic Development Reserve, approved in 2015 as a 2016 Budget Initiative and designated in the Events Admission Tax line item.

About the Events Admission Tax

Pursuant to Order No. 14-10, subsequently amended by Order No. 007-11 and Order No. 010-11, the Township began collecting an events admission tax on January 1, 2011. The tax is 5 percent of the price of a ticket sold as admission to events held at qualifying venues in the Township. To date, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is the only qualifying venue.

The provisions of tax legislation SB 2515 state that the proceeds of the tax are to be used “only to support cultural education in the District.” The Township has entered into an agreement with The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to provide 90 percent of the collected tax revenues to the Pavilion for “costs of operations, maintenance, management, financing, funding development, capital costs, debt service, or other actual costs of production, promotion or presentation of cultural events by the Pavilion.” The remaining 10 percent is to be utilized by the Township for promotion, funding and support of cultural events. Per Board Resolution 014-13, the Township is allocating those funds to its Economic Development Reserve to fund cultural events or projects as they are identified and approved by the Board of Directors.

The Events Admission Tax Fund has a current balance of approximately $543,000.
 
BACKGROUND:
The Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee is appointed annually by The Woodlands Township Board of Directors. Current members include Dr. Ed Robb as Chairman of the Committee, Director Ann Snyder and Director John McMullan. This is a working committee of the Board; all policy, procedural and budget authority is reserved to The Woodlands Township Board of Directors.
 
Summary

The Woodlands Township has funding in the 2016 Budget (Economic Development Reserve Funds) to conduct a feasibility study for a cultural arts facility that would potentially provide space for performing arts, exhibits, cultural arts and more. Since that time, The Township Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee reviewed this issue, and developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for this study. The RFP was approved by the Township Board of Directors in February 2016, posted in March, and six companies responded with proposals. 

In addition, the Committee has sought participation of other governmental entities and nonprofit organizations at the recommendation of Township directors. At this time, nonprofit entities have indicated an interest in participating in the study in an amount of approximately $40,000.

Previously, the Township (as the Town Center Improvement District) conducted comprehensive studies in 2006 and 2007 with many community leaders to determine cultural arts needs in The Woodlands. The two studies showed a gap of museums and indoor performing arts venues. The economic downturn in 2008 followed by The Woodlands governmental transition and creation of The Woodlands Township, resulted in this topic being deferred until a later time.  In more recent years, the Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee of The Woodlands Township has monitored community feedback from Village Associations, corporations and residents, among others.
 
In 2015, The Regional Center and Academy for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands, a group of area residents, approached the Township Board to recommend engaging a consultant to perform a study to determine the feasibility and viability of an indoor performing arts facility in The Woodlands. The analysis suggested would include a base study with pre-development strategic plan, business plan, three site test fits, site feasibility and a naming rights valuation study.
 
Following additional Board and Committee discussions in late 2015 and early 2016, a Request for Proposals for a Feasibility Study for a Cultural Arts Center (ID# 2016-0065) was posted to the Township website. The Township received six proposals. The Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee reviewed each proposal and interviewed three of the submitting firms at their June 2016 committee meeting (Gensler, Franks & Associates and AMS). The Committee met in August to develop the recommendation below to the Board of Directors for a selected consultant to conduct the Feasibility Study.
 
Depending on the consultant selected, the time needed to conduct the study may take six months or more. Following the study, and presentation of the results, the Board would then consider any further action as to next steps, if any.
 
The proposed feasibility study would include interviews with community stakeholders and analyzing needs and facts to determine what type of facility would be successful, both in terms of culture as well as economics, for The Woodlands. There is the possibility that the study results could show something different than what is originally anticipated, or that the study could show that the community would not support such a facility. All of these things will be taken into consideration.
 
All of the proposals received were excellent, and the Committee deliberated over two meetings to determine the best fit for The Woodlands Township Cultural Arts Feasibility Study. At their August 4, 2016, meeting, the Committee members voted unanimously for Gensler to be recommended to the Township Board of Directors, emphasizing that the full, independent and unbiased study would be conducted in such a way that the Township would have full understanding of the type of cultural arts facility that would be best supported by The Woodlands Township, if any.
 
RECOMMENDATION:
The Woodlands Township Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee recommends that The Woodlands Township Board of Directors authorize the President/General Manager to enter into final contract negotiations with Gensler to conduct The Woodlands Township Cultural Arts Feasibility Study in accordance with the RFP and Gensler’s proposal as presented to the Committee, and to bring the final agreement (including price) back to the Township Board for approval.
Attachments
Gensler Proposal
Frank's & Associates Proposal
AMS Proposal


    

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