A Barnstable Patriot article written by Bronwen Howells Walsh on August 18, 2018 details the beginning stages for the development of the Oceanside Performing Arts Center. Grant funding for the project was secured by Representatives Will Crocker and Sarah Peake and Senator Julian Cyr in a comprehensive economic development bill passed by both the House and the Senate in late July.
Oceanside names prominent design firm
The nonprofit group pitching construction of an Oceanside Performing Arts Center in Hyannis is in line for a $200,000 state grant that would allow design work for the proposed project to move forward.
The grant is part of a comprehensive economic development bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Will Crocker (R-Centerville) and Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown), and in the Senate by Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro). It passed a joint legislative conference committee on July 31 but is awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature.
If approved by Baker, Barnstable Town Council and the Cape Cod Commission, the proposed arts center would provide a new home for the Cape Symphony Orchestra and the Cape Conservatory.
OCPAC leaders say they have received lawmakers’ assurances that the grant money would be secured. Jerome Karter, OSPAC executive director, announced that Cambridge-based Epstein Joslin Architects, Inc. was chosen to perform initial design and engineering work.
The firm also designed the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, the Music Center at Indian Hill in Groton, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“We’ve got every indication from the chairman that it’s an appropriation that will go through,” Gerry Garnick, OSPAC board president, said Aug. 9. “This is the toughest phase of the development, because we don’t have any architectural drawings to show what a benefit it will be to the property and the community. People want to see something concrete.”
Earlier this year, the OSPAC board signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Finch Group Hotel and Resort, Inc., for 40 acres of land near the West End Rotary. The property currently operates as Twin Brooks Golf Course.
Karter, who retired as Cape Symphony executive director in June 2015, has said he is confident the OSPAC can complete fundraising for the project, which he heralds as a major economic boon to the Cape.
Over the next six months, Karter said, Epstein Joslin will conduct environmental impact and traffic studies that detail the needs of the site and the proposed buildings.
“In those studies, we’re going to address all the concerns of the neighbors and will keep them updated,” he said.
In April, residents voiced their reservations about the project’s environmental impact at a public forum organized by the Greater Hyannis Civic Association. Residents also said they are wary of increased traffic and noise in an already congested part of town.
“They say they will have more information for neighbors by November,” Debra Krau, civic association president, said Aug. 10. “The civic association is very split on this one. We’re staying neutral.”
Krau added that Conservation Commission review would be critical, and “the civic association is encouraging everyone who’s for it or against it to come to public comment.”
Todd Deluca, executive director of the Greater Hyannis Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber supports the concept of creating a downtown venue for the Cape Symphony and other performing arts productions.
“The chamber of commerce enthusiastically supports plans that improve the viability of downtown and offer a sustainable business model,” Deluca said. “We look forward to hearing detailed plans from the Oceanside Performing Arts Center Organization about the potential for a center on Scudder Avenue.”
Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, also has endorsed the project.
“OMG, it’s awesome,” Wurfbain said. “I’m convinced it’s a really good project. I hope it happens.”
Pending approval, the arts center’s target completion date is sometime in 2023.