City Officials Grapple With Funding Proposed Arts Venue

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor Talks regarding Mayor Ralph Becker’s proposed Utah Performing Arts Center in downtown Salt Lake City are now focused on hammering out the financing package for the $110 million project.  Considered a centerpiece of an effort to re-energize Downtown Salt Lake City, the 2,500-seat venue would be capable of hosting touring [...]

Talks regarding Mayor Ralph Becker’s proposed Utah Performing Arts Center in downtown Salt Lake City are now focused on hammering out the financing package for the $110 million project.  Considered a centerpiece of an effort to re-energize Downtown Salt Lake City, the 2,500-seat venue would be capable of hosting touring Broadway shows and other major performance events.

The County Council is slated to provide $20 million toward the project. However, now that the council is controlled by a conservative Republican bloc, that $20 million share could be reduced dramatically. Signs of the County Council’s reluctance to help fund the development were reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, which noted that the council’s Republican members voted against placing a $123 million parks bond issue on the November ballot. David Wilde, the council’s chairman, gave further indications of the body’s mindset in comments that his colleagues are reluctant to commit funds to big-ticket items.

City officials are proposing to increase the county’s say in the facility’s operations as a tactic for sweetening the deal. The county-controlled Center of the Arts currently operates a number of other downtown venues such as the Rose Wagner Theatre, the Capitol Theatre and Abravanel Hall.

Image courtesy of utahperformingartscenter.org