The Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission is a state agency that oversees capital improvement funds appropriated by the General Assembly and Governor for planning, construction, renovation and expansion projects at Ohio's theaters, museums, arts education facilities, historical sites and publicly-owned professional sports venues.
The Commission was established in 1988 as the Ohio Arts Facilities Commission, through chapter 3383 of the Ohio Revised Code. As indicated by the name, our focus then was only on arts facilities. Through the years, our responsibilities have been increased by the General Assembly to include funding oversight for projects at science and technology museums, local historical facilities, state historical sites and professional sports venues. This led to a 1996 change in our name to the Ohio Arts & Sports Facilities Commission, and later, in 2004, to the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission to better fit our mission and scope.
The General Assembly and Governor assign projects to the Commission in the state's biennial capital improvements bills. Since 1988, nearly $530 million has been appropriated for more than 300 projects of various sizes and complexities, which are spread among 72 Ohio counties.
All of the Commission’s projects are assigned to it in the biennial capital improvements budget bill. The Commission does not have discretionary control over decisions regarding capital funds, nor does it play a role in deciding which projects to fund. Rather, our role is to establish and implement operational policies and oversight mechanisms to ensure that the state resources entrusted to our care are spent properly. We protect state interests by verifying that each project has significant community support and a solid management plan.
After projects are assigned to the Commission, our staff works with communities and project sponsors to assist them through the required processes. These include project management assistance, funding administration and contract oversight. Careful planning and supervision by the Commission help maximize the impact of the state's investment by ensuring the projects, once completed, will operate successfully. The Commission is not involved with day-to-day operations at our partner facilities, but we do ensure that taxpayer-funded bonds deliver full value to the public. We have a long-term interest in ensuring the health of the organizations and facilities for at least 15 years after the capital projects are complete, while the bonds are being paid off.