Aldi proposes making $60,000 donation for art in Roeland Park instead of incorporating piece into new store project

Roeland Park Aldi
The current Aldi facility will be razed to make was for a store.

The Roeland Park city council on Monday gave tentative approval to allowing Aldi to provide a $60,000 arts donation in lieu of incorporating an art piece into the teardown/rebuild efforts for the store located at 4801 Roe Blvd. The item will be placed on the next council meeting’s agenda for a final vote.

City administrator Keith Moody explained that Aldi would prefer the city determine how to spend the $60,000 donation and that the store was open to the art being placed anywhere in the city.

Roeland Park policy requires new commercial construction to include a piece of art that totals 1 percent of the project’s cost.

Because the city would own the art installation created with Aldi’s money, it would also be responsible for any maintenance cost the art could incur over time, Moody said.

Mayor Mike Kelly said the option “makes a lot of sense” noting that Roeland Park could utilize the donation to incorporate art into a place where it could be more frequently viewed.

“That’s not an insignificant amount of money,” Kelly said.

Councilmembers Jim Kelly and Jennifer Hill noted concerns with costs involved with maintaining the art. Councilmember Tim Janssen suggested the city hold back part of the donation and save it for future maintenance needs.

Aldi plans to completely tear down the Roeland Park store and replace it with a more modern, slightly bigger store. The renovation is part of a nationwide effort to revamp Aldi stores. The Shawnee Aldi reopened last summer after an extensive renovation.

Previously Aldi had considered meeting the 1 percent arts requirement by adding a mural on the retaining wall behind the store, or building a statute on an island in the parking lot.