Some Leander parkland funds to be reallocated to public art

Public art is on display at Leander Public Library.

Public art is on display at Leander Public Library.

Updated Oct. 22 at 8:45 a.m.

Leander City Council voted unanimously Oct. 17 to adopt the ordinance reallocating a portion of parkland dedication funds to the city's Public Art Fund.

Original post Oct. 10 at 9:50 a.m.

Public art in Leander could receive more funding in the coming years due to a recent decision to reallocate some parkland funds.

Leander City Council directed city staff Oct. 3 to develop an ordinance redirecting a percentage of parkland dedication funds to the city’s Public Art Fund. A final ordinance will go before council Oct. 17, according to city spokesperson Mike Neu.

“I like the idea of getting the Public Arts Commission money to be able to do things around the city,” Mayor Pro Tem Chris Czernek said during the Oct. 3 meeting. “I think that’s our intent here.”

In Leander, developers of residential properties are required to provide a certain amount of parkland within their development. They can opt to pay a fee-in-lieu if they choose not to meet the parkland requirements. Previously, fees went solely to the Park Dedication Fund, which funds city park projects. Under the new ordinance, 15% of the fees will be redirected to the Public Art Fund.

The amount of fee-in-lieu payments the city receives fluctuates each year, according to Finance Director Robert Powers. He said in the past five years, annual fee-in-lieu payments have totaled from just under $300,000 to around $750,000.

The Leander Public Arts Commission makes recommendations on how to allocate public art funds. In the past year, the commission has pursued several projects, including putting on the city’s first Leander Art Festival and commissioning art benches to be put on display at the Leander Public Library, according to LPAC Chair Jennifer Jones.

Council voted 6-1 to make the funding change, after discussing three different options on how to reallocate funds to public arts. Council Member Christine Sederquist opposed.

Sederquist, who is the council liaison to LPAC, said she thinks the change should have been put before LPAC before council decided to move forward. The Leander Planning and Zoning Commission also recommended council refer to LPAC for input on the ordinance, according to city documents.

“I’m fine with more money going to arts,” Sederquist said during the Oct. 3 meeting. “I think it should go to arts, but if we’re going to do it, do it right and follow our own rules and make sure we’re being responsible in what we’re doing.”
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