There are some who say the historic South Union School — home of the Recreation Department, Facilities Department, and Southborough Arts Council — should be shut down because it’s a drain on the town. Recreation Director Doreen Ferguson is not one of those people.
“There is so much more that could be done with this building.” Ferguson said last week.
The Recreation Department currently shares the main space with the Arts Council, which Ferguson last night told Selectmen limits her ability to offer programming. She said she could raise another $12K in revenue each year if she was allowed to more fully use the building.
The Arts Council has occupied South Union School for many years and was originally responsible for its upkeep. But a broken elevator and other complications derailed their fundraising efforts. Three years ago they told the town they couldn’t pay. The town assumed financial responsibility for the building and moved in the Recreation and Facilities Departments.
While recognizing the “intrinsic value” the arts play in a community, Selectmen John Rooney said it may be time to limit the Art Council’s use of the space in favor of programs that bring in money.
“It’s a question of priorities. If there’s an opportunity to generate $12K of revenue, I can’t in good conscience say let’s forget about that,” Rooney said. “At the end of the day (the Arts Council) is not putting anything into the bottom line.”
Both Rooney and Selectman Bill Boland said they wanted to speak with the Arts Council before making any decisions.
You can read another take on last night’s discussion in this article by the Metrowest Daily News.