COLUMBIA — Even as the city solicits proposals for artwork at the planned Short Street parking garage, the budget for the project is not yet final because the cost of the garage keeps going up.
The Columbia City Council has approved the Short Street garage as a Percent for Art project. The policy resolution establishing the Percent for Art program states that the city will set aside 1 percent of the cost of all above-ground capital improvement projects that exceed $1 million (including costs for architects and engineers but excluding land costs) to fund the creation and placement of public art.
The budget for the project as it stands is $70,000, which includes $47,000 for the actual art and $23,000 for ancillary costs.
"The original proposal was based off of the $7 million for a 300-space garage," Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said. “Since then, the City Council, recognizing the need for additional parking, approved a 410-space garage, adding about $1.3 million to the original cost, just for construction."
That means funding for the art project at the garage remains up in the air.
Chris Stevens, manager of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, says city staff is trying to figure it out.
"The final determination for the art project hasn't been determined yet because we don't have the final cost for the parking garage,” Stevens said. “The city ordinance for the Percent for Art Program does say 1 percent of project costs. We're still determining that amount."
According to a request form inviting artists to apply for the project, the budget for the project has been established at $47,000.
“It may wind up being $47,000, but I don’t know what the final project cost is going to be yet,” Stevens said, adding that $47,000 would be the minimum.
The other $23,000 would cover contingencies, lifetime maintenance of the artwork and administrative costs, he said.
"In addition, we have set aside $6,000 for honorariums," Stevens said. "We're going to pick three finalists, and each artist will be paid $2,000 to develop a design proposal, and the Standing Committee on Public Art will make a recommendation that goes on to the Cultural Affairs Commission. If approved, it then goes on to the City Council for final approval.”
St. Romaine said the public would have a chance to weigh in on artists' proposals.