Walton Arts Center Lobbies to Expand

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 12:00 am  

Terri Trotter

$1.1 Million Yearly Impact

A study commissioned by the Walton Arts Center projects an additional 22,500 people will be drawn to the venue and Dickson Street. That would generate an additional $1.1 million per year in economic impact just for Fayetteville.

Because of the potential for bringing tax revenue into the city, the Walton Arts Center has called on the Fayetteville A&P Commission to help come up with $8.5 million in funding. On March 11 the A&P board will evaluate a proposal that would extend a bond issue in the city to help fund the expansion and generate money for the theater and two other projects in the city.

A&P Executive Director Marilyn Heifner is asking commissioners to consider backing the WAC expansion, plus plans for a regional park and permanent outdoor concert venue. Total cost for the project would be about $24 million, an amount that Heifner thinks can be raised through a voter-approved extension of a local hotel, motel and restaurant tax.

Funding from the A&P, which has never committed more than $500,000 to a single project, will be crucial in carrying out the expansion, Trotter said. Getting the $8.5 million would help kick-start the fundraising efforts and the vision to improve what the Walton Arts Center can offer.

Getting A&P approval is just the beginning, though. From there the bond issue would need to go before the city council, which would then turn it over to a vote of Fayetteville residents.

“It’s a huge campaign,” Trotter said. “It’s an exciting time for us.”



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