Linda Henderson, executive director, StoneGate
Linda Henderson, executive director, StoneGate
BEDFORD — Reducing StoneGate Arts & Education Center's reliance on the city for funding has been a goal of the Bedford City Council.

Monday during a meeting of the city council, StoneGate Executive Director Linda Henderson informed the council that by cultivating sponsorships and increasing facility rentals, the downtown building is moving toward self-sustainability.

When StoneGate opened in January 2019, it could count on $160,000 in annual funding from the city. In 2020, the city informed StoneGate it intended to reduce that amount to $50,000.

Constructed as one of the city's Stellar Communities grant projects, StoneGate was envisioned as a key part in downtown revitalization as well as education and workforce training. The Bedford Redevelopment Commission makes two payments a year of $127,500 on the USDA loan the city obtained to construct StoneGate. Currently, that loan will be paid off in 2037.

StoneGate partners with Oakland City University, Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University to offer college classes and certification programs. StoneGate has financial agreements with Ivy Tech and Vincennes; OCU will begin contributing in 2024.

Henderson said she is pursuing other academic partnerships and is focused on expanding StoneGate's reach. Facility rentals will bring in $13,000.

Debbie Deckard with Turpen & Deckard CPAs said if all projected funds come in, StoneGate will have $165,000 in revenue this year. Deckard explained total spending is projected at "a very frugal" $184,000; the board will tap into cash reserves for the time being to cover the deficit.

Henderson said currently classes are offered Monday through Friday and starting in September, classes will be held Monday through Saturday when Ivy Tech launches its cyber security classes on Saturdays.

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