The county plans to begin building the Chesterfield Center for the Arts next spring. That’s the word from Garrett Hart, Chesterfield County’s Economic Development...

The county plans to begin building the Chesterfield Center for the Arts next spring.

That’s the word from Garrett Hart, Chesterfield County’s Economic Development director. Hart made the comments at the county’s Sept. 20 Economic Development Authority meeting.

In other news, EDA treasurer and board member Harril Whitehurst said the organization plans to begin investing some $6.47 million of arts center funds with Wells Fargo Bank in the near future.

The county’s fiscal services coordinator, Debbie Baicy, said the plan is to invest $3 million in a six-month certificate of deposit at 2 percent interest and $1.4 million in a 12-month CD at 2.21 percent interest. The remaining $2 million would be invested in a 0.9 percent money market account.

The EDA has been investing arts center funds with SunTrust Bank at 0.05 percent.

Whitehurst said Wells Fargo is the “biggest holder of public funds in Virginia.” Any interest earned from the investments will be used toward the arts center, he said.
Baicy estimated that $60,000 would be earned in interest per year on the investments.

“We’re going to do a heck of a lot better,” Whitehurst said, adding that he’s been complaining about the lack of interest from arts center funds for two years.

Also last week, the EDA approved the second five-year renewal of a contract with the Timmons Group, a Richmond engineering firm that provides land use advice to the county. The contract pays Timmons Group $600 a month, Hart said.

Last month, the EDA approved a resolution of support for raising some $5.1 million for the Chesterfield Center for the Arts through a bond sale. The county supervisors approved the $5.1 million allocation on June 27 by a 3-2 vote. The EDA previously issued $6.89 million in bonds and the county $2.67 million in bonds for the 22,000-square-foot arts center in Chester, which would include a 350-seat theater. Together with the new revenue bonds, the combined total would be about $14.66 million.

At the June 27 meeting, county official Matt Harris said the construction project would take 14 months. He estimated the building would cost $16.8 million. Some $2.1 million in private funds have been raised as well.