Below are the important dates and milestones leading up to selection of Mercerdale Park as the best site for the proposed arts center. The process, described above in detail, involved the City Council, several City staff, the Youth Theatre Northwest (YTN) executive director, independent experts on site evaluation and selection, members of the arts community and the public.
The relevant links to City Council meeting minutes, reports, newspaper articles and other documents are included.
Nov 2012 YTN is notified that it will be displaced from its location on school district property.
May 2013 May 2013 Performing Arts Alternatives/Comparison. This is the briefing book for the City Council mini-planning session at which alternatives and locations for a new home for YTN were examined.
June 2013 June 8 Mini Planning Session
Mercer Island City Council vets possible nonprofit development at Mercerdale Park. (Article published in MI Reporter on June 11, 2013.)
August 2013 Text of Council Action from August 12 meeting that authorized YTN to proceed with Recycling Center site. Exact motion approved is as follows:
“Accept the recommendations of the Study Committee and communicate to Youth Theater Northwest its intention to make the former Recycling Center site (described as Alternative 1 of the Performing Arts Center Analysis) available for further study and analysis as a future Mercer Island Performing Arts facility.”
Sept 2013 YTN performing arts center will enrich community. (Article by Manuel Cawaling, Executive Director of YTN, published in The Mercer Island Reporter in September 2013.)
Nov 2013 Letter of Understanding dated November 7, 2013, signed by the City and YTN. The key provisions are as follows:
- The City’s role would be confined to providing the land for the facility plus access to parking spaces at the Thrift Shop and in the adjacent public rights-of-way.
- The footprint of the facility will be at the recycling center and Bicentennial Park.
- City sets a 2-year period for YTN’s assessment of the site as an arts facility.
- YTN will undertake the design, construction, financing, and management of the facility.
- The City-YTN relationship would be that City would lease the land to YTN.
June 2014 Letter of Understanding dated June 10, 2014, signed by the City, YTN, and MICA. The key provisions are as follows:
- Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA), incorporated in Washington as a nonprofit in December 2013, will take over from YTN as the legal entity responsible for designing, constructing, financing, and managing the proposed arts facility, with YTN being the major tenant in the new facility.
- Proposed facility is now referred to as Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA).
- The proposed facility’s mission has been extended beyond performing arts to include visual arts and cultural programming.
August 2014 Letter of Understanding dated August 11, 2014, signed by the City and MICA. It authorizes the expansion of the facility footprint to a portion of the wooded area immediately south of the abandoned recycling center that is sometimes referred as the northwest native garden.
Below is a sampling of MICA-related coverage in the press over the last two years.
Sept 2013 Letter from YTN Executive Director Manuel Cawaling to the Mercer Island Reporter YTN performing arts center will enrich community about the City’s “green light” to look at the Mercerdale Park site.
Nov 2013 MI Reporter article Theater supporters go to work that appeared after the first MICA community meeting.
Feb 2014 MI Reporter article YTN getting ready to pack, move mentions the second community meeting in January 2014.
Feb 2014 The announcement by YTN Executive Director Manuel Cawaling in MI Reporter Youth Theatre Northwest announces upcoming move in letter to supporters that YTN would be closing and seeking temporary space while MICA is being built
Oct 2014 MI Reporter article Mercer Island Center for Arts begins next phase. The article goes into detail about the proposed Mercerdale Park location.
Jan 2015 MI Reporter article Mercer Island Center for the Arts selects design team talks about selection of MICA’s design team.