Saturday, August 30, 2014

Packed crowd vies for OMA board

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/7/2014

Ottawa Municipal Auditorium soon will have an advisory board charged with making the 1921 landmark venue a more integral part of the community.

City commissioners Monday night continued interviewing candidates for the new board, which will help establish a vision for future use of the auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

Ottawa Municipal Auditorium soon will have an advisory board charged with making the 1921 landmark venue a more integral part of the community.

City commissioners Monday night continued interviewing candidates for the new board, which will help establish a vision for future use of the auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

The city commission voted unanimously Jan. 8 to establish the seven-member board, with at least five members required to reside within the city limits. Four members will serve two-year terms and three members will serve one-year terms initially, with all subsequent terms to be three years.

The board members are to be selected from a field of about 20 candidates, each of whom have been interviewing with the city commission during its past two Monday study sessions.

Candidates who have interviewed thus far include Nell Stockdall, Dennis Tyner, Paul Bean, Julie McAdoo, Jeanne Stroh, Becci Shisler, Mark Butterworth, John White, Leslie Quillen, Tiffany Evans, Tony Brown, Jack Bushman, Katie Butts, Brad Howard, Michelle Corbett and Amy McFadden.

Allen Campbell, Rob Hale and Mary Lyn Barnett were to interview with the board Monday evening. The commission plans to wrap up the interviews at next Monday’s study session and select the seven board members that evening, Sara Caylor, Ottawa mayor, said.

The move to establish the board came about after numerous discussions in the past few months among city commissioners and Richard Nienstedt, city manager, about the auditorium’s future. OMA is run as a city entity, and is funded through local tax dollars. OMA’s budget this year is $234,449, up from $202,128 allocated for the auditorium in 2013.

The advisory board will report directly to the city commission. Members serve on a voluntary basis.

Nienstedt envisions the board initially meeting on a monthly basis, he said, with possible additional work to be completed by committees appointed by the board.

Some of the duties of the board, as described in the ordinance establishing the board, would be:

• Advise the auditorium manager of groups which might be interested in using the municipal auditorium.

• Advise the auditorium manager of what additional information should be gathered to attract conventions, touring companies and other groups to use the auditorium.

• Advise the auditorium manager of additional attractions or events which might increase the use of the auditorium.

• Assist the auditorium manager in promoting the use of the auditorium.

• Direct all inquiries from persons or groups desiring to use the auditorium to the auditorium manager.

• Make reports to the city commission concerning the auditorium activities at least twice a year.

• Make recommendations concerning the annual budget, including capital improvements, to the city commission.

Built in 1921 to honor those killed in World War I and as a successor to the two Rohrbaugh theaters that came before it, the OMA has seen such acts as Johnny Cash, Reba McIntire and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band grace its stage in the past. More recently, Pam Tillis, The Little River Band and Collin Raye have performed at the auditorium. In addition to musical entertainment, the venue has played host to other events through the years. Most recently, 700 people packed the auditorium for the “Star Spangled Evening with Mike Huckabee” in November.

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