We can’t actually predict the future here at YES! Weekly, but we can see when lines are going to converge, and we’ve become adept at reading the handwriting on the wall.
But we don’t need a crystal ball to see that the downtown performing arts center is going to become a reality in Greensboro.
That was the tone at last week’s Downtown Greensboro Inc. rally for the cause, a marketing campaign branded as “Talk it up!” which amounts to little more than an effort to manufacture “grassroots” support — not for the proposed $50 million project itself, but for the idea that the DPAC needs to be in downtown Greensboro.
That is a sentiment with which we wholeheartedly agree. Where else but downtown could we put a 3,600-seat venue? How else could we maximize the economic potential of this thing but to put it at the heart of our urban center?
Was there ever any real effort to place this thing anywhere else? A more pressing question than the “Where?” is the “How?” Private money will cover maybe 20 percent of the price tag of approximately $50 million, and $11 million could come from hotel-motel taxes that are currently earmarked for paying off Greensboro Coliseum debt but which could be applied if the coliseum retires its debt.
We’ve seen it before with the G r e e n s b o r o Aquatic Center, which went from concept to fruition in less time than it takes to make a baby and hear its first words.
The rest will come from taxpayer money in the form of a bond issue — $30 million or so — that is apparently being fast-tracked for the November ballot.
Comparisons to the Durham Performing Arts Center abound, though Durham is part of the Triangle, which has a higher population, higher percapita income, lower umemployment and a more educated population.
And much is being made of the potential economic impact, which could indeed be considerable.
But we notice that the question “Why?” is not being asked very loudly. The “Why?” was certainly not part of the conversation at the DGI event, nor will it be discussed at length in council chambers before it comes up as a bond referendum, if we’re reading the situation correctly.
We’ve seen it before, most recently with the Greensboro Aquatic Center, which went from concept to fruition in less time than it takes to make a baby and hear its first words.
The GAC seems to be a successful venture thus far — the US Swimming Nationals just wrapped up there last week, bringing more than 400 swimmers to town.
And it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Greensboro’s downtown performing arts center will be similarly successful. It’s certainly more sexy than, say, an extension of Cone Boulevard to connect with the urban loop or preparing land outside the city for phantom projects.
But those things are what we elected our candidates to do — not to fast-track a performing arts center that looks to us like, one way or another, is going to happen.
YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration