City Commission Discusses Plans For Performing Arts Center Funds

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Updated By: James Buechele
May 14, 2014, 5pm

The City of Tallahassee will decide tonight what to do with money set aside for a Performing Arts Center.

This comes a day after the Leon County Commissioners scheduled a meeting with the City to talk about the money.

The Commission is currently talking about this issue in the chambers at City Hall.

After it was decided a Performing Arts Center would not be opening, the Commissioner now has to decide what to do with more than $4 million.

Now the Leon County Commissioners are hoping that the issue of the money will be resolved, and they won't have to meet with city leaders.

City Commissioners say they'll look at several different options as to what to do with the money.

Updated By: Natalie Rubino
May 13, 2014

The Leon County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 Tuesday night to end a one cent contribution to a project that would bring a performing arts center to Tallahassee.

One cent of a five cent bed tax has been put aside for years towards the project.

The total accumulation of the contribution has grown to 4.1 million dollars.

But it is now unknown what that 4.1 million dollars will be used for.

The vote to end the county's contribution comes after the Florida Center for Performing Arts, who was leading the 50 million dollar project, failed to meet certain fundraising goals.

Organizers of the group say stopping the funds is a mistake.

"I think it's going to restrict our growth and development. We're the most educated, culturally rich community in Florida. This is a community that will support the arts," Bob Inzer, Chairman of the Florida Center for Performing Arts and Education said.

Members on the commission said they realize a performing arts center would be beneficial but that currently the community has other needs.

"I don't think there is as much opposition as there is concern. 'How do we get this done?' We know that a performing arts center would be great but the timing is an issue and where we get the money is an issue," Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier said.

The question now is, What will that one cent from the five cent bed tax go towards?

If voters pass a proposal this November allowing the county to contribute to FSU's project of bringing a convention center to Madison Street, it could go towards the center's maintenance costs.

"The bed tax is funded every night someone stays in a hotel room. If we want more dollars to spend on culture and arts and tourism and other types of projects in the future, we need more heads in beds. The convention center is a game changer," Dozier said.

Another uncertainty is, Where will the 4.1 million dollars, originally set aside for a performing arts center, go?

A possibility is that it will be used to build a 250 seat downtown theater on College Ave.

The county board is set to meet with the Community Redevelopment Agency on April 24th, to discuss all layers and options.