The city is soliciting ideas from the community about what the future use of the present art museum site should be. For me, the criteria most important in determining its use would be in what way it could serve the most diverse elements of the community. That, in my mind, would preclude something like moving the police department there.
Based on this criteria I would submit that the best use would be as an adjunct or annex of the Wheeler Opera House. Maybe you haven’t noticed that the Wheeler is bursting at the seams with major events virtually every night of the week. A supplemental performance space could take a lot of pressure off the Wheeler and open up many more opportunities for public uses.
If you haven’t been in the art museum in a while, I noticed from the very first time I entered the main-floor gallery space that its very high ceilings were uniquely adaptable to small scale live theater production. It could function as a “black box,” one of those spaces made famous by alternate theater groups in just about every major city. It could accommodate meetings, lectures, music and more. As museum members can testify, the lovely tree covered grounds surrounding the building can host all kinds of things like craft fairs spring, summer and fall.
I hope city staff, council and Wheeler management will give this, the most public use I can think of, serious consideration.