The City of Mesa is considering keeping some of its facilities, including its libraries and museums, closed through the end of September to protect public health and to mitigate costs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, April 6, the Mesa Arts Center posted a note on its website saying that it would remain closed through September 30, along with the i.d.e.a. Museum, Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Mesa Amphitheatre, Mesa Convention Center, and City of Mesa recreation facilities.
All programs and shows scheduled through September have been canceled or postponed, the Mesa Arts Center's website said. The center is currently scheduled to reopen on October 1, "dependent on the state of the health crisis and its economic impacts," according to the website.
“We already miss sharing in-person arts and cultural experiences and discoveries with you and will work to share what we can online during the closure period,” said Executive Director Cindy Ornstein in a statement. “Know that we will continue to share developments with you, our valued patrons and supporters, and we are anxiously awaiting the day when we can welcome you in person again. Thank you for your patience and support.”
Steven Wright, spokesperson for City of Mesa, did not confirm the extension of closures posted to the Mesa Arts Center's website when reached on Monday, but did share a slide show that was reportedly presented to Mesa's City Council last week about the financial impact the City of Mesa was expecting because of COVID-19. View that presentation.
Wright said a decision would be made on Thursday.
In the presentation, city staffers said closed facilities anticipated a loss of $9.1 million between all departments. Staff recommended to City Council that facilities should remain closed through at least September to protect public health and to allow "staff to implement the operational savings plans outlined by the departments."
According to the presentation, closed departments were now preparing nine-month and 12-month closure plans, which will reportedly be presented this week. Wright did not elaborate and said more information and details would be available on Thursday.
In a later slide, staff said they would then meet with City Council in June to discuss potentially extending the facilities closures through Jan. 1, 2021.
"Staff concerned that economic recovery will not be sufficient to support reopening of facilities before January 1, 2021," one slide said.