SAN ANTONIO – After seeing its demand for city bond money rise from $ 25 million to $ 5 million, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy is hoping San Antonio city council members will change course and provide more funds for a renovation massive Sunken Garden Theater.
The conservatory is pushing for a $ 62 million overhaul of the city-owned 1930s theater, located next to the Japanese Tea Garden in Brackenridge Park. The plans include new facilities, professional lighting and sound systems, as well as a panoramic roof that covers the stage and an expanded lounge area.
The conservation has an agreement with the city to develop the site, although the question of who would operate it once the renovations are complete has not yet been determined.
The group’s new chairman, Nicolas Hollis, hopes the renovations could attract more artists to the venue.
âLast year, 89 acts bypassed San Antonio that went through Texas to the other three cities. So we don’t see the artists that the people of San Antonio want to see, âHollis said.
To fund the project, the conservation relies on a mix of public and private dollars, with the target being $ 25 million from the city, $ 25 million from Bexar County and $ 12 million from private funds. .
But conservation says it’s essential to put the city’s commitment on the books.
âObviously, this is a city installation. Everyone’s going to ask, “Well you know what the city is putting up? “First,” Hollis said. âSo it’s extremely important for them to step in and be part of the, you know – part of the first seed funding. “
The conservation requested $ 25 million from the upcoming $ 1.2 billion bond program for 2022-2027, but city staff recommended funding only $ 20 million of that request as a first step.
After an initial city council discussion, in which members questioned the amount of money allocated to ‘city-wide’ projects like the theater, staff members cut their recommendation in half. – to $ 10 million.
Since city staff also intend to provide an additional $ 15 million in funding through the Midtown Tax Increase Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), the conservation agreed with the lowest recommendation, as that would still be on top of the $ 25 million the group was looking for from the city.
However, a citizens’ committee tasked with making its own recommendations for bond financing decided to halve the Sunken Garden Theater bond demand again to $ 5 million.
But that won’t be the last word. The city council is responsible for drawing up the final list of projects before they are incorporated into the bond proposals and submitted to voters.
Although he said conservation was “very grateful” for the $ 5 million, Hollis hopes council decides to ignore the committee’s recommendation for the project and increase his allocation to $ 10 million. .
Otherwise, a $ 5 million cut on a $ 62 million project wouldn’t be a fatal blow, but neither is it currency.
“What that means is that we have to find these funds elsewhere, or there are things that we may not be able to do,” Hollis said. “And we want to create a world class theater, and that frosting is, you know, that $ 5 million creates a lot of frosting to add to the real amenities.”
City council is expected to review the committee’s list of recommendations for bond financing on January 12 and vote on a final list on February 10. The six resulting bond proposals will be voted on on May 7.
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