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Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Garden City hopes theater project revives downtown

December 19, 2012

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GARDEN CITY — A private developer’s proposal to renovate a Garden City theater into a state-of-the art space that would host year-round events could boost the city’s revenues and help revitalize the downtown, Garden City Commissioners said.

The commission on Tuesday chose to continue discussions with Mark Pamplin of Holcomb about his plans for the State Theater, which was built in 1929. It was donated to the city in 1999 and has been used since then as a performing arts facility for local events.

In October, the commission sought proposals for the building’s future and received one from Pamplin and another from The Garden City Recreation Commission, which wanted to continue to use the theater for local productions after about $590,000 in renovations.

Making the theater a private enterprise appealed to commissioners, The Garden City Telegram reported (http://bit.ly/12p7Sfz ).

“We’re talking private money vs. public money. I think both are great proposals, it’s just private vs. public,” Commissioner John Doll said. “And we won’t own that building no more.”

During the next several months, the city will prepare an agreement with Pamplin to determine details for the building transfer and each party’s responsibilities, City Manager Matt Allen said. The city won’t deed the property to Pamplin until fundraising is completed.

Pamplin, a 1987 graduate of Garden City High School, said the project would be funded entirely by private investment and season ticket sales would cover annual operating and production costs. He estimated it could take about six months to arrange private financing.

If all goes well, Pamplin envisioned seven productions per year, running five to seven weeks each, as well as an annual Christmas show and Saturday morning children’s programs. One-night events such as stand-up comedy or musical concerts could be booked between the events.

But Pamplin said he doubts professional touring companies would be booked.

“The high school is bigger for any professional tours. I’d just be using local talent from surrounding communities,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of talent here for the type of shows we’d be doing.”

The city said the building’s current appraised value is $308,510. Using the 2013 mill levy, Pamplin’s proposal would bring in $3,007 in property taxes but tax revenue likely would be higher because the building’s value would increase after the renovations.

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