Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SCFD Celebrates Its Founding

Don and Marylee Beauregard
with 1988 and 2016 yard signs
In the mid-1990s, Colorado’s cultural facilities were in financial crises. A modest state appropriation
to Denver’s four major cultural institutions – the Zoo, Natural History Museum, Art Museum and Botanic Gardens – was withdrawn due to a shortfall in state revenues. The City of Denver was not in a position to help the institutions, except for a basic subsidy of cash and in-kind services that had been frozen and endangered for years. The institutions were forced to close floors, cut hours and started charging admission fees.

A group of trustees from the four organizations came together to help their institutions and the cultural life of the community in general. Later, they were joined by leaders from the performing arts community and other civic leaders who saw the dire need.

What they came up with in the form of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) has become a nationally recognized model for supporting arts and culture. It collects a modest tenth-of-a-cent sales tax that flows directly to the programs with minimum overhead. The seven-county Denver metro region will vote this year to renew the SCFD, and a campaign has been mounted with some of the originators from 30 years ago, joined by a new group of cultural supporters and civic activists.

Barry and Arlene Hirschfeld, among the original organizers, sponsored a celebration of the founders
and a campaign fundraiser last week, which brought together many of the people who helped from the early years:

Barry and Arlene Hirschfeld and
KK and Floyd Ciruli with Popsicle
Dan Beauregard, with the first steering committee; Tim Davis, the first to assess art’s impact on the economy; Pat Grant, the House sponsor, who worked very closely with Rex Morgan, a trustee of the Denver Art Museum, on various aspects of the bill; Paul Power, a senate sponsor of an alternative bill that created adding mid-size regional organizations; Bob Greenlee, the first SCFD chair, who led the Board that made many of the sound decisions that still exist today; Vicki Sterling, with the original Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and an arts patron; Eddie Conners, who knew the earliest stories of the concept and saw to it the Denver Botanic Gardens was at the table; Ed and Dick Robinson, among the earliest business supporters; Wilbur Flachman, who helps in Adams County; and Cathey Finlon, who provided media advice since the beginning.

The SCFD renewal will be Ballot Issue 4B, located near the end of the long 2016 Colorado ballot. It will read:

DENVER METROPOLITAN SCIENTIFIC CULTURAL FACILITIES DISTRICT (SCFD) BALLOT ISSUE 4B:

SHALL THERE BE AN EXTENSION UNTIL JUNE 30, 2030, OF THE AGGREGATE 0.1 PERCENT SALES AND USE TAXES CURRENTLY LEVIED AND COLLECTED BY THE DENVER METROPOLITAN SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL FACILITIES DISTRICT THAT ARE SCHEDULED TO EXPIRE ON JUNE 30, 2018, FOR ASSISTING SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL FACILITIES WITHIN THE DISTRICT…

Please vote to renew the SCFD and keep Colorado’s acclaimed program of culture for all in place for another 12 years.

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

One of the best taxes ever.