Roeland Park council updates ‘1% for the arts’ policy to allow installations throughout city, not just on commercial project sites

Roeland Park has updated its public art spending policy after a request from Aldi.

Commercial developers building in Roeland Park will now have the option to make a financial contribution for public art instead of incorporating art into their project. Roeland Park’s “1 percent for art” resolution requires business developers to spend 1% of total project costs on art, and previously these funds could only be used for art projects displayed on the development’s property.

Demolition crews are at work clearing the site of the former Roeland Park Aldi store for its replacement.

The resolution change was prompted by a request from Aldi to donate funds for art rather than incorporate an art piece into the $3.6 million teardown/rebuild plans for their store located at 4801 Roe Blvd.

Originally the city thought the donation would be around $60,000 but updated project costs from Aldi’s engineer place the donation closer to $36,000.

City staff recommended the resolution amendment, pointing out it would allow Roeland Park to decide where the art will be displayed and to potentially incorporate the donation in public improvement projects like the Roe 2020 initiative.

Councilmember Jen Hill voiced some concerns with amending the resolution pointing out the “1 percent for art” regulation was created so that art would be spread throughout the city, and not just on public property.

“That kind of defeats the purpose of what this was intended to do,” Hill said.

Hill also pointed out that the city will responsible for any maintenance costs associated with art purchased through developer donations.

Councilmember Tim Janssen successfully motioned to further amend the resolution to specify that the city would use part of donations for art maintenance.

Councilmembers passed the amended resolution unanimously.