New City Endorsement of Long Center on Tap

New City Endorsement of Long Center on Tap

This week, the Long Center's lease of the Palmer Auditorium site for its proposed performing arts complex is up for renewal by the city, and while the project hit some rough road during the downturn, reports suggest City Council is happy with its current direction and will give the extension its seal of approval. Part of council's confidence comes from the city manager's report on the center's fundraising efforts, which have improved considerably in the past year (to the tune of almost $10 million) after the center was scaled back from four venues to two (the 2,300-seat concert hall and 250-seat studio theatre) in 2003, with the option of adding a 700-seat space and a rehearsal hall some time in the future.Three changes are to be proposed to the lease as drafted five years ago: 1) revising the number of venues; 2) setting boundaries for the $10 million endowment that will provide income for funding the center's operation, so the city can access one-quarter of it whenever it wants, but the rest is dedicated to a trust account that can't be touched by the center or the city; and 3) stipulating that construction has to start within 30 days after all building permits are issued. If this does sail through the January 13 council meeting – it's on the agenda for 2pm – we could be looking at the long-awaited groundbreaking for the Long Center this spring.

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