After making a successful funding pitch to the Lawrence City Commission last week, representatives of Theatre Lawrence, the former Lawrence Community Theatre, have decided to extend their tour with a stop at the Douglas County Commission this afternoon. City commissioners pledged $100,000 over the next five years to help Theatre Lawrence build a new facility near Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive. Today, theater representatives will ask county officials to make a similar commitment.
To many local taxpayers, this seems like a double-dip. Theatre Lawrence produces high-quality productions that contribute to the quality of life in Lawrence and, therefore, probably is deserving of a certain amount of public support. The theater received a generous contribution last week in the form of $100,000 in city taxpayer money. The decision now to ask the county to match that amount may be overreaching. A large majority of county residents already will be contributing to the fund through the city’s contribution. Should they be asked to give again through the county?
Theatre Lawrence says it needs the money to reach its $6.2 million fundraising goal by the end of this month and collect a $1 million out-of-state challenge grant. We hope they are successful in meeting their goal, but, especially at a time when local government dollars are in such high demand to fund essential services, the city’s contribution of local tax dollars may be enough.