Council considers rent payment for Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage

The Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage has asked the city to help it cover the cost of the rent it pays to the Jefferson School Foundation. That’s the entity that owns the former elementary school. The Center leases just over 11,000 square feet at a cost of $15,134.76 per month. 

Staff has recommended Council donate seven months of rent to cover the Center from December 1 through the end of next June for a total of $107,203.32. 

“The reason for taking this action at this moment is to provide Council the space that it needs to conduct its strategic planning sessions to determine how it will engage in investments for moments like this to invest in arrangements with non-profit organizations,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. 

Sanders said that conversation will also include a further discussion of how the city treats nonprofits to which it rents property. (City seeking to know more about what property it rents, May 20, 2022)

At the same time, the city is seeking requests from firms to facilitate a new strategic plan

The funding will come from Council’s Strategic Intiatives fund. Sanders said a previous $950,000 for this purpose went to an escrow account whereas this one will go directly to the Center. 

City Councilor Michael Payne said he would want to make a long-term commitment to the Center.

“I would definitely want to prioritize finding a way for the Heritage Center to stay there longer-term,” Payne said. “I know there’s a bigger discussion about non-profit leases and rentals but I think it would be very short-sighted for us to lose some of these community spaces for just another restaurant or whatever else.” 

Council held first reading of the item and agreed to hold the second as part of the consent agenda for the November 7, 2022 meeting. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the October 20, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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