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Task force will look into PAC financing

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council will set up a financial planning task force to seek out possible funding partners to build a performing arts and events center on the Glenwood Springs Community Center grounds.

The project was envisioned by another task force that was appointed by city council in the fall of 2010 to look at the feasibility of building a 350-seat performing arts center, as well as a larger venue for events.

Working with Basalt architect Harry Teague and financial consultants Duncan Webb Management, a design concept was presented last summer. It proposed a theater with seating for up to 500, built onto the east side of the existing community center building. It would have a main lobby, a stage and backstage area, and would extend all the way to the existing ice rink structure.



What’s now an open-air ice rink with a roof would be completely enclosed, under the conceptual plan. It would still be used as an ice rink for seven months of the year through the winter and shoulder seasons. In the warmer months it would be available for conferences and larger concert events.

The concept earned support from the feasibility task force members and potential users of the facility, as well as city officials.



However, it came with a rather hefty price tag, with cost estimates in the range of $20 million to $26 million to construct the various adjoining facilities. There would also be an estimated annual operating subsidy of between $350,000 and $400,000.

Two members of the former feasibility committee, Marice Doll and Judy O’Donnell, met in a work session with City Council at its Jan. 5 meeting to discuss taking the next steps.

They proposed a council-appointed task force to identify possible funding sources, both public and private, and determine if the project is financially viable.

Doll and O’Donnell offered to work with the city to identify potential task force members. They suggested that the group include:

• Investment and accounting professionals.

• Members of community foundations and other gifting vehicles.

• General contractors.

• Members from previous theater task forces, “to bring history, continuity and to answer questions.”

The effort should also include Garfield County officials, they said, since the facility would be likely to have more regional use, rather than be limited to Glenwood Springs. Some nonprofit organizations may also want to be involved.

“We do like the way the design feasibility came out, making use of the community center site,” Doll said. “It shows Glenwood off at its best.”

Coming up with a funding mechanism for the project will likely involve a mix of public and private resources, “including well-established donors from various community foundations, organizations and civic-minded businesses,” according to the task force proposal.

The financial feasibility task force is proposed to have seven members, with a six-month time frame to complete its work.

“I don’t see the need for any resident restrictions for this task force,” Mayor Matt Steckler said, suggesting those living outside Glenwood Springs city limits would be welcome to apply.

Councilman Dave Sturges suggested that council also draw up a resolution stating its desire that the task force focus on the community center site, and not try to identify other possible sites for a performing arts center.

The former feasibility task force had been charged with exploring other location options, but settled on the community center as the best location.

Council is expected to take formal action on establishing the financial task force at its Jan. 19 meeting.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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