Barnes gets some real money

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Bernard Watson, Gov. Ed Rendell, Rebecca Rimel
Originally uploaded by sokref1.

Governor Ed Rendell speaking at today’s press conference. Dr. Bernard Watson of the Barnes Foundation is at left and Rebecca Rimel of the Pew Trusts is right. Click picture to see it bigger.

Curiousity got the better of me so I went to the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom to see what Gov. Ed. Rendell and the Pew Trust‘s Rebecca Rimel had cooked up for the Barnes Foundation and were ready to announce at a press conference at 2 pm.

Cutting to the chase, we were given a press release that spilled the beans: the Governor was giving $25 million to the city for the Barnes move. The money is from the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Fund**, a state fund, presumably, and tax dollars, presumably.

Everybody was happy and congenial. Rendell got praise for transforming Broad St. into the Avenue of the Arts and for encouraging the Kimmel Center, two efforts that Rimel, who introduced Rendell, implied were fueling the city’s new cache as a destination, a must see place and one known for its great art and culture.

Dr. Bernard Watson of the Barnes Foundation thanked Rendell and mentioned how they were moving things along. He said they’d signed up new board members and would have threee more to announce by the end of the year. (Three of the new appointees were in attendance: Steven Harmelin, Sheldon Bonovitz and Judge Jacquelyn Allen). There was no word on the search for a Director for the Barnes.


Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom

When asked how much money they still had to raise to meet their $150 million goal, Rimel was elusive saying they were close — maybe months away — from announcing they’d met the goal. She would not be more specific. They need $100 million to build the new Barnes and $50 million for an endowment.

Rendell’s check will be for building or demolition costs. He said “If there is a gap in the demolition costs we’ll come back and talk about it” leaving the door open for more state money.

Mayor Street, who came in late but was all smiles, said the city is committed to the move and would make the proposed site on the Parkway available when appropriate.

I’ve got more pictures in my flickr set. The Grand Ballroom is really grand by the way.

P.S. Let me say that I’m happy with this development. I’ve long been a supporter of the Barnes move, something I believe is in keeping with the spirit of Albert Barnes and his desire to have people visit the art and get a visual education.

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**Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (from this website)
OECD can apply for grants under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), which is administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of the Budget. Eligible projects are typically economic development projects that have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases in employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. Included are projects with cultural, historic, or civic significance.

The Rendell administration has stated that its priority, related to this program, is to “focus limited available capital on those projects that display significant potential for improving economic growth and the creation of jobs.”

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