HYANNIS — The proposed Oceanside Performing Arts Center may soon truly live up to its name.
In a concept being pitched by organizers, the yet-to-be-built arts center and planned future home to the Cape Symphony could be changing its expected location from the Twin Brooks Golf Course behind the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center to a water view at Michael K. Aselton Park and the Cape Cod Maritime Museum property.
“It is a concept that we are exploring,” said Gerald Garnick, president of Oceanside.
The idea is a big one, and could set off a domino effect of major change for the area near Main Street.
In a proposal acquired by the Times and signed by Martin Reilly — a former state senator who consults on local development projects — an outline is presented that includes moving the Maritime Museum to the nearby former National Guard Armory to make room for the performing arts center and creating a “Hyannis Arts and Cultural District in downtown Hyannis on the harbor.”
Described in the proposal as a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” the concept includes renovating the armory to suit the Maritime Museum and potentially allowing for space to include an additional museum in the same building, such as the Cape Cod Museum of Art, as well as municipal-related use. Maritime Museum Executive Director Liz Rabideau, Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells, Oceanside Executive Director Jerome Karter and Barnstable Town Councilor Jennifer Cullum, who represents the area where the arts center would be located, did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
The 1,400-seat Oceanside Performing Arts Center and the Maritime Museum would be connected to each other with a “pedestrian access bridge” connecting the armory property to Aselton Park.
“We don’t know exactly what all the benefits will be until we sit down and have an understanding that we can move forward with the project,” said Garnick.
Making the switch to Aselton Park will better utilize public space and “have a tremendous positive ‘transformative’ economic development impact on downtown Hyannis and the harbor” that will bring numerous special events and attention, according to the proposal.
After listening to concerns by neighbors of Twin Brooks Golf course and some members of Town Council, the decision was made to consider a new location, the proposal says.
“We need to find a spot that is beneficial to all concerned,” said Garnick. “The symphony, the performing arts center and for the town of Hyannis and Barnstable and for the Cape. That’s why we’ve expanded our horizons going forward to see if there is a possibility for something that would be more accommodating to us.”
“It makes the most sense,′ Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District said of the possible location change.
Locating the performing arts center at Aselton Park, at the corner of South and Ocean streets, could become a major community builder, Wurfbain said.
“Look at Boston, you have so much happening” she said. “We love it. We want to create vibrancy.”
Other locations are also being considered, Garnick said, but he declined to say where they were.
If the proposal comes to fruition, Oceanside would assume responsibility for the Maritime Museum’s lease with the town for the Aselton Park property but at a higher price, the outline says.
Like the armory, the rent payment for Oceanside would still be below market value because of the public benefits it provides, according to the proposal.
The “favorable higher lease” for the town could be used to subsidize the rent paid by the Maritime Museum at the armory, the proposal says.
Under the proposal, the Maritime Museum would move to the armory property in two years or once renovations are complete.
The outline references a two-year plan to raise funds needed for the construction of the new performing arts center, kicking off at the end of this summer season.
The outline included plans for an “aggressive, highly-publicized” fundraising campaign starting in September with a Cape Symphony concert at Aselton Park and other fundraising concerts with special guests.
So far, the Oceanside Performing Arts Center has acquired $200,000 in state funding, according to the proposal.
“I got them the $200,000 for them to determine if the site at the west end of Hyannis was a good location and if it wasn’t then to pursue other venues,” said state Rep. William Crocker, R-Centerville.
But the discussion about the Maritime Museum location is not to say the change in venue is happening at all, Garnick said.
The original Twin Brooks Golf Course location is “absolutely” still in consideration.
“We have a binding contract with them,” he said. “The fact that we’re spending time on it means that we’re taking it seriously but doesn’t mean that we’re going to end up doing it.”
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