September 25, 2004
Two arts groups and a church are interested in moving into a historic Gilbert structure that served as the town’s first Mormon church and later as home to the Boys and Girls Clubs.
The Gilbert Fine Arts Association, Talent Team Inc. — a youth performing group that’s proposing a charter school — and Calvary Chapel of Gilbert submitted proposals to the town by Friday’s noon deadline.
The Gilbert Town Council voted in July to seek a user for the town-owned 1.6-acre site at the northwest corner of Gilbert and Elliot roads that has sat vacant since August 2003.
The Gilbert Fine Arts Association would use the west portion of the building for theatrical performances, youth shows, children’s classes, youth workshops, local arts presentations and offices, according to its proposal.
"Gilbert doesn’t have a community arts facility, even though we’re one of the fastest-growing and most affluent communities," association executive board member Ben Freedman said, "and we believe the building is well suited to be used for the performing arts."
Talent Team Inc. proposes opening a charter school for grades one through eight with an emphasis in performing and visual arts. The group also wants to demolish an adjacent house to build a preschool and kindergarten center, while offering productions, plays, recitals and art displays on the weekends, according to its proposal.
Calvary Chapel of Gilbert, a nondenominational Christian church, would initially use the facility for a church sanctuary and classrooms, according to its proposal.
Talent Team and Calvary Chapel representatives could not be reached for comment Friday.
Gilbert limited the structure’s use to the "visual arts, performing arts, youth ‘Hall of Fame’ museum, school-type uses and similar noncommercial uses." Gilbert is hoping to lease the building to a tenant who will pay to renovate and maintain the structure.