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Minot Area Council of the Arts gains future lease on Carnegie

MACA looks to increase historic building’s programming

Jill Schramm/MDN The Carnegie, a 110-year-old, historic building, is to come under management by the Minot Area Council of the Arts.

Minot’s Carnegie building will come under new management Sept. 1.

The Minot City Council voted Monday to approve a two-year lease of the building to the Minot Area Council of the Arts.

Rent is based on a percentage of event revenue generated from the facility.

The Carnegie Association currently has a 10-year lease that expires Aug. 31.

According to a memo to the council, city staff have heard concerns from the public regarding nonresponsiveness and inaccessibility to rent the facility for events. The facility also is in need of cleaning and maintenance.

“We have a great asset in that facility. The city itself has invested quite a bit of money in some repair work at the facility over the last several years,” City Manager Harold Stewart said. “There’s still some repair that needs to be done to it. The intent of this agreement was to kind of be a benefit and plus to the city as well as to the Minot Area Council of the Arts.”

Justin Anderson, MACA executive director, said MACA will be conducting some of its own programming at the Carnegie as well as looking for renters. The hope is the facility will generate enough revenue to provide for building improvements that will place it on par with other event facilities, he said.

Because the Carnegie hasn’t been in the public eye to the extent it could be, it is uncertain how much additional utilization might be obtained, Anderson said. MACA will be revisiting aspects of the existing operation of the building, including the fee schedule.

Council member Lisa Olson passed along a community question about whether religious organizations still would be able to rent the building under MACA management.

Stewart said the city attorney hasn’t yet been able to address the question, but his understanding is that as a publicly-owned building, the Carnegie Center cannot be rented to a religious organization.

“It has been my experience with legal advice in the past, that is not an appropriate use of a city-owned facility, and you are potentially looking at some potential litigation if somebody were to complain and express their concerns about that,” he said.

Built in 1911 as a library, Minot’s Carnegie Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was used as a library until 1965. For a time, it was used as a senior center.

Mayor Shaun Sipma said leasing to MACA is a prudent step in helping the facility become a more utilized space.

“There is a vast amount of opportunity within that building. It is just being underutilized at this point,” he said.

“It is in need of a lot of work, not just a deep, deep clean, but the flooring throughout the facility is beyond its lifespan,” he added. “If you walk through the building, there’s just a ton of maintenance that has not been done. I know MACA has got its hands full in stepping into this.”

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