Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Area residents tasked with refocusing vision for OMA

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/21/2014

After interviewing 20 candidates throughout the past month, the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium now has an advisory board.

And its representatives cover a broad spectrum of the community, from representing the Ottawa school district, local higher education institutions, community theater, music, the retired community and the radio station.

After interviewing 20 candidates throughout the past month, the Ottawa Municipal Auditorium now has an advisory board.

And its representatives cover a broad spectrum of the community, from representing the Ottawa school district, local higher education institutions, community theater, music, the retired community and the radio station.

Ottawa city commissioners selected the seven members of the new board Monday evening. The advisory board members include:

• Paul Bean, who represents Ottawa University and has experience in fundraising and working on various boards.

• Tony Brown, who represents Neosho County Community College and is involved in the arts in Baldwin City where he resides.

• Rob Hale, an Ottawa youth pastor with music and theater experience in directing, staging and recording.

Bean, Brown and Hale were unanimous selections in each round of voting as commissioners worked their way through the candidate list.

They will be joined on the seven-member board by:

• Allen Campbell, a retired Ottawan with a background in working for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and as an auctioneer. Campbell brings vast experience working on numerous boards.

• Tiffany Evans, who represents Ottawa-based KOFO radio station and has a background in promoting the music industry.

• Jeanne Stroh, superintendent of Ottawa schools who brings organizational and leadership skills to the table. Commissioners also liked the fact that as a new member of the community Stroh brings an outside perspective to the discussion, some members said.

• John White, a member of ACT [Area Community Theatre] Ottawa and an employee of the East Central Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center.

“We had 20 excellent candidates,” Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, said.

After the selection process Monday, Linda Reed, Ottawa mayor, said she was pleased with the varied experiences and backgrounds the seven members brought to the board.

The advisory board is charged with helping establish a vision for future use of the auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, to make it a more integral part of the community.

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. Board members Evans and Brown reside outside the city limits, commissioners said.

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 decision about which four members would serve the initial two-year terms had not been determined Monday night.

The move to establish an advisory 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.

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