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Campaign for Legacy Arts Center in Johns Creek continues into election season

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Members of the Johns Creek arts community are asking residents to look up and imagine a city cultural arts center.

The Legacy Center task force — a roughly 20-member citizen group dedicated to bringing a cultural arts center to Johns Creek — is funding six billboards across the city during October.

The billboards are focused on educating residents about the vibrant arts in Johns Creek and the need for a space to properly showcase them, task force Chairman Wayne Baughman said.

“That’s the cool thing about our entire arts community,” Baughman said. “We have a thriving arts community in spite of the fact that we don’t really have a central home where we can produce our art.”

In the two years since the task force was created, the group has facilitated multiple studies researching the necessity and feasibility of a cultural arts center in Johns Creek. Baughman said these studies demonstrated need for the Legacy Center and informed specific objectives.

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Plans for the proposed 83,00- square-foot Legacy Center include a professional performance venue, a rehearsal space and banquet hall, a new home for the Johns Creek Arts Center as well as gallery and office space.

A study performed by Webb Management Services Incorporated and presented to the City Council in January 2019 concluded that the Legacy Center project would be supported by the city’s demographics, citing high household income and education as an indicator for “strong propensity to support the arts.”

The study also said the project could propel extended efforts for economic development in the city.

Right now, the biggest obstacle is land acquisition, Baughman said. The task force identified an ideal location for the structure right next door to City Hall.

Baughman said he and the task force are hoping the venue could be incorporated as a major component of the proposed town center plan which will face the City Council later this month.

The desire for a cultural arts center like the proposed Legacy Center has existed for years, Baughman said, but city leadership has kicked the can down the road in the past, citing a lack of funds.

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The task force’s proposal asks the city to foot half of the more than $50 million estimated bill. Baughman said the task force would like to seek out a public/private partnership wherein his committee gathers private donations and sponsorships to cover half the center’s cost, while the city passes a bond to cover the rest.

For Baughman, a lifelong musician and more than 30-year Johns Creek resident, this is a quality-of-life issue.

“It’s important for the city as an entity to take ownership of cultural arts as being an important indicator of what makes a great city,” Baughman said. “I want each of us to take ownership of this facility, so that we’ll be proud of it.”

To find out more information on the legacy center, visit jclegacyarts.org.

Reach Sydney Dangremond at 770-847-7404. Follow her on Twitter @syddang_.

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