Article by Ron Zeigler
The Chatfield Center for the Arts, owned by the Chatfield Economic Development Authority and in partnership with many groups, continues to develop and once again become a facility of regional and economic significance. Ownership of the property was transferred in February 2010. Since that time, progress has been made to restore the facility. 19 major improvements to the facility have been made to date.
These improvements would not have been possible without the support and vision of the Chatfield Center for the Arts Advisory Committee. To date, the Chatfield Center for the Arts has secured $3,212,171 in funding from 20 separate entities through grants and generous donations. Additionally, there have been countless significant hours of labor donated by at least 11 community organizations.
The Center has also secured the services of a lobbyist to assist the project in gaining support at the Minnesota Capitol for state bonding dollars. The Chatfield Center for the Arts sought funding in 2010 but was narrowly left of out the final conference bill due to political negotiations. At the time this article was written, the Chatfield Center for the Arts was included in a final Senate bill for $2.2 million in state bonding dollars. These dollars will be used for major updates and renovations to facility systems such as electrical, HVAC, plumbing, weatherization, and also general renovations to the various rooms and grounds.
Improvements made to date have allowed for 68 individual events, including 21 individual performers. Individual performers range from local artists such as the Chatfield Brass Band to international musicians such as Lorie Line. 16 other notable groups have also used the facility including U.S. President Barack Obama.
A broad array of users of the property has developed, resulting in approximately 10,000 people in Potter Auditorium and approximately 3,300 people in the American Legion Room in 2011. Project dollars to date injected into the economy are just short of $700,000. Utilizing a jobs factor of one job is created for every $20,000 worth of injection, the Center has assisted to create over 34 jobs in this short period of time. Using a multiplier of a dollar turning over seven times, almost $5 million has been inject into the economy.
The economic impact to the local economy is real, as caterers, printers, advertisers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, concrete contractors, restaurants, boiler operators, garbage haulers, bakeries, liquor stores, grocers, motels, bed & breakfasts, and others have benefited from the Center.
The economic impact to the state’s economy is real, as contractors, musicians, and other professionals from St. Cloud, North Branch, Minneapolis, Rochester, Spring Grove, Edina, Oakdale, St. Paul, Lino Lakes, Plymouth, Pine River and others have benefited from the Center.
The Chatfield Center for the Arts is truly a significant economic, historic and arts project that will not only help to revitalize a community’s downtown, but a region as well.