The Grove - October 16th 2013
“The Grove” Committee
October 16, 2013 Meeting Minutes
The Grove Committee met on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center.
Present: Garry Regan, Pat Andrzejczyk, Dave Hoehnen, Rick Hall, and Ron DiNardo
Absent: Steve Jerome and Blythe DiCicco
Also Present: Diane Wolgamuth (Director of Administration), Bill Thomas (Recreation Director), Patsy Mills (Mayfield Village Council), and Don Mitri (Cleveland Conservatory for the Performing Arts)
Introduction of Cleveland Conservatory for the Performing Arts (CCPA)
Ms. Wolgamuth distributed a written proposal from the Cleveland Conservatory for the Performing Arts (CCPA) and introduced Don Mitri, one of the principals of this non-profit organization. Ms. Wolgamuth explained that the Village has agreed to allow the CCPA to utilize Reserve Hall for performances as well as some of the basement rooms in the Civic Center for classrooms. Ms. Wolgamuth described that Mr. Mitri and his partner, Jeff Blanchard, specialize in improvisational comedy and Mr. Mitri is a graduate of Mayfield High School.
Mr. Mitri described his and his partner’s background and explained the classes and productions the CCPA intends to offer in the Civic Center. Mr. Mitri stated that he would very much like to be included in the programming opportunities at The Grove. Mr. Thomas suggested that Mr. Mitri be part of this Committee or at least attend future meetings. Mr. Regan agreed that it would be excellent if Mr. Mitri would like to share his experience and ideas with the Committee. Mr. Mitri asked what type of events the Committee was planning to offer at The Grove in the future. Specifically, does the Village intend to continue to offer events that are free to the public or will tickets be sold for some or all performances?
Mr. Hoehnen expressed the Committee’s focus on “Education, Recreation and Entertainment.” Ms. Wolgamuth explained to the Committee that the arrangement with the CCPA at the Civic Center is that the CCPA will be responsible for all costs associated with their productions, similar to the arrangement with Fairmount, but that the CCPA will pay the Village 10% of all gross revenue from productions and classes. That is more difficult to do at The Grove, at least in the short-term, as there are no gates. Ms. Wolgamuth stated that Mr. Mitri is asking the Committee a question that it has not yet resolved—whether future events at The Grove will be ticketed? The Committee discussed the ability to set up temporary gating for particular events and the desire to continue to offer free events, but also sell tickets for larger, more expensive entertainment. Mr. Regan suggested that the goal should be to break even rather than make money. Mr. Hoehnen stated that he feels that we should not try to duplicate Cain Park, but rather remain unique.
Mr. Mitri commented that he visited The Grove at Ms. Wolgamuth’s suggestion and believes that it has an intimate feel for its size. He stated that he didn’t know where it was and had not heard of it previously. Mr. DiNardo responded that signage is definitely needed. Mr. Mitri suggested that utilizing social media and a creating a separate website will be important. The CCPA is planning a gala at the Civic Center in January and will be starting to work with media soon.
Mrs. Mills stated that over the years, Fairmount’s performances were fairly well attended and she believes the CCPA’s performances at the Civic Center will only enhance what is happening at The Grove. Mr. Mitri agreed and stated that there are many excellent stand-up comedians in the area. His partner, Jeff Blanchard, is great at stand-up and improvisation and rarely prepares for a show. “He reads the headlines of the day and he just goes.” Mr. Regan suggested The Grove could host “Laughing Under the Stars”.
Mr. Regan thanked Mr. Mitri for coming and said that he will look forward to many joint activities. He asked that Mr. Mitri be invited to future meetings. Mr. Mitri asked what additional infrastructure was being planned for 2014. The Committee advised that they are working on recommendations and will not know until the 2014 budget is passed.
Recap of 2013 Events
Mrs. Mills stated that she wanted to compliment the Committee for doing such a good job so quickly. Mr. Regan advised that the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival is interested in putting on an event at The Grove on the July 4th weekend and the Committee might want to consider that.
Mr. Regan stated that the most important thing that the Committee accomplished was demonstrating that we can do it. Mrs. Mills added that the people who attended the events were astonished at what had happened there. She thought the Civil War event was very good. “It is going to take time. Don’t be impatient.”
Mr. Regan added that all the events came off because of the efforts of Ms. Wolgamuth and the Service Department. It was very good that the Committee members were there and he felt it was a huge accomplishment—“we acted as producers for a venue”. Mrs. Mills agreed that the Committee’s presence greeting people was important. Mr. Regan suggested that, as Mr. Hoehnen previously stated, we may want to be a more unique venue doing things that nobody else is doing. “Do we want to duplicate what Cain Park is doing or do our own thing?” He suggested it might be nice to get a “name” to come to The Grove occasionally. Mr. Thomas suggested seeking local celebrities or bands and Mrs. Andrzejczyk agreed that there are many great local bands. Mr. Regan agreed, stating “there is much local talent in the Cleveland area and many bands have large followings”.
Ms. Wolgamuth presented a draft Powerpoint presentation that she and Mr. Regan had prepared. It includes the results of the programming survey, a summary of expenses incurred, updates on partnerships made, the tree sponsorship program and infrastructure already completed.
Mr. Hall suggested the following outline as the Committee begins to work on a business plan:
- Background / History
- Mission / Vision / 3 year objective: What is the committee's overarching vision for the program?
- 3 year plan
- Events plan: What are the events we think are possible and probable over the next 3 year?
- Business model overview: Who are the planners, administrators and who will provide high level guidance?
- Financial modeling: how will the P&L look including one time and ongoing expenses?
- One time, running and long-term.
The Committee discussed the need to meet several more times to discuss and prepare recommendations. Mr. Regan reminded everyone that there is a budget deadline and that, if invited back to Council, with minor adjustments we could present the Powerpoint report.
The Committee discussed the fact that 2014 was likely to be a short season if infrastructure work is done in the spring and, if that occurs, whether the Committee would be willing to commit to planning and implementing another season.
Mr. Hall suggested that the Committee could offer different options, spending more or less on capital improvements. Mr. Regan suggested opening the Committee to more members. Mrs. Mills suggested creating an Ordinance to formalize the Committee since it is currently just a Mayor’s Advisory Committee. Mr. Regan stated that he prefers to keep the Committee in its current informal state and suggested that an Ordinance might be appropriate in the future. Mr. Regan stated, “Right now, it is going to be us. We need to pick how many events we can do. If we allocate a dollar amount to each event and get a programming budget, we could do it.” The Committee further discussed the need for signage and how to avoid scheduling events that conflict with uses at the pool.
The Committee agreed to begin work on the business plan at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.
Diane Wolgamuth, Director of Administration