COLUMBIA – The Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, destroyed by a fire in April, might have a chance at quicker and complete revitalization if voters approve Proposition 1 on Nov. 2.

Mike Hood, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, identified three possible sources of funding for a complete revitalization project:

  • The insurance settlement from the fire that destroyed the structure in April; Hood estimated this figure to be approximately $100,000.
  • The fundraising efforts of the Maplewood Barn Board of Director+s, which has a goal of $50,000.
  • Revenue that would be generated by Proposition 1, $150,000 of which would be designated for the barn.

If the tax is renewed, Maplewood would be looking at about $300,000 and would work toward completing the projects in time for the 2012 season.

The barn board has been fundraising, but they can't rebuild in a timely fashion without revenue from the park sales tax. If Proposition 1 doesn't pass next week, they will be left with whatever they can raise and the insurance settlement, but they will probably be able to pay for just the exterior, then have to find ways to fund further improvements through other means down the road.

The board, the Parks and Recreation Department and the Historic Preservation Commission have gone through planning stages for the new structure, gathering input from the public and holding interested parties meetings, Hood said. They are preparing a more complete recommendation that they hope to complete by Jan. 1 and will hold another round of input.

The other $50,000 was allotted to Nifong Park under the Proposition 1 projects list, and if it passes, the money will go toward Maplewood Home improvements possibly increasing parking space. Hood said the total cost of the project will become more clear as the plans progress.

"From a planning perspective, as you get a more definite plan, you can get tighter and tighter cost estimates," he said.

According to the Maplewood Barn website, Nifong Park was established in 1969, but movement toward facilitating outdoor performance arts there did not begin until 1973.

The park sales tax is a renewable tax that voters first approved in 2000 then renewed in 2005. It is set to expire in March 2011 if voters do not pass the extension on Tuesday.

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