Duluth discusses formation of public arts committee

DULUTH -- As the city continues to gear toward a more aesthetically pleasing look, Duluth is in the beginning stages of forming a public arts committee.

The formation of the committee was discussed at Monday's planning session with a few concerns brought up.

As presented, the committee would have four professionals who are educated in art, four business owners or homeowners, and one City Council member.

"That doesn't sit well with me," councilman Billy Jones said. "We could have eight of the nine members not being city residents with the only city resident being the council member.

"If you look at all of the other committees we have in the city, there is some sort of requirement as far as the number of city residents that are on the board."

The rest of the council members agreed and asked the city staff to require five of the eight non-council member spots to be held by city residents.

Jones also brought up the fact of the professionals, who could use their position on the board to push work their way.

"I'm not saying it's going to happen, but we have to avoid the possible conflict of interest," he said. "I don't want to see someone with signature rights giving a grant to someone else on the board, or even themselves."

Jones also said he wanted to see term limits put on the board members.

Other items discussed include:

-- City staff members brought back to the council's attention median landscaping on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. While the City Council said it would love to get it addressed, it's just not a priority, according to Mayor Nancy Harris.

-- The public safety building is in need of modifications, according to the chief of police. With space having run out, the chief asked for modifications to be made to the building, giving the department another conference room and more offices.