City to consider theater funding request

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:47 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The Missouri Symphony Society could receive $250,000 to aid in the renovation of the historic Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts if the City Council approves the funding request at its Monday meeting.

The society, which owns and operates the Depression-era theater, applied for $250,000 from the city’s Attraction Development Fund to help pay for the complete restoration of the art center, which it hopes to finish before its 100th birthday in 2028.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board recommended that the council approve funding after determining that the society’s request complied with application guidelines.

The Attraction Development Fund is one of three parts of the Tourism Development Program, which was established to help promote sporting events, festivals and attraction development.

To qualify for Attraction Development funding, applicants must either be not-for-profit corporations or organizations, for-profit businesses, or city, county, state or federal government. Also, the applicant must match no less than 50 percent of the funds for the total project.

In 2004, a committee recommended that future use of the Attraction Development Fund be concentrated on existing attractions. Since then, the fund has helped in the Blind Boone Home restoration and the development of the YouZeum.

David A. White III, executive director of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, said the renovation will help continue the theater’s long-standing tradition of providing a venue where Columbia artists can exhibit their talent.

“This is a huge honor on behalf of the Missouri Symphony Society,” he said. “These funds will go toward the transformation of the Missouri Theatre into mid-Missouri’s new center for the arts.”

White said the society is currently finishing the design drawings and expects to start the bidding on the final plans early next spring.

The theater will close Aug. 1, 2007 after the Missouri Theatre’s Hot Summer Nights Music Festival, and will reopen on the weekend of June 1, 2008.

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