Monday, March 22, 2010

Council votes "Yes" to Downtown Theatre


Today Barrie City Council voted in support of the project plan for construction of the Downtown Community Theatre. In January, Council approved the budget amount for the project as part of their process for setting the city's 2010 budget. Tonight's meeting was to approve the project plan itself which includes a rebuild of the existing space as opposed to a renovation.

Ratification is scheduled to take place next week.

The vote came with several amendments including the exploration of a volunteer driven box office and concession, thus reducing the operating costs via fewer paid staff. Should the project go over budget, it was amended that staff be responsible to find savings elsewhere in the project rather than approach Council for more funding.

Most debated were amendments about dollars figures including the addition of a minimum benchmark for naming rights of the facility and a reduction in municipal spending on the project.

With these amendments it appears that the project as proposed is almost a three-way split. The expected revenue from fundraising sits at approximately $1.25 million, municipal investment at approximately $2.2 million and federal investment from Canadian Heritage of up to $2.5 million. The overall project budget total did not change.

Concerns were raised by several Council members that the expected fundraising revenue may have a negative impact on the current donor base for local arts groups. That being said, it was also brought to light that the architectural plan includes 20% to account for contingencies (unexpected costs) and allowances (for fixtures and furniture).

As a potential user group of the new space, Simcoe Contemporary Dancers would like to express their gratitude to Council for their continued support and investment in the Arts. Through the passion and debate witnessed tonight, it is clear that Council is working to meet the communities best interests. It is not an easy task to project so far forward and it was clear that Council was looking at the project from all possible angles.

Ratification is scheduled to take place next week. For more information make sure to connect with the Barrie Arts Council: http://barriearts.ca

Rendering of what the Downtown Community Theatre at Five Points might look like/ courtesy of Barrie Arts Council website: http://barriearts.ca


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1 comment:

  1. Bravo Barrie! This is exciting news for the city, good choice Council and good work Sarah! : )

    ReplyDelete