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Deadline passes for new performing arts center locations

/ Source: WHEC-TV

The deadline to submit ideas for a new performing arts center has passed and if the people behind the effort choose a suburban site, they might not get any state money to build it.

Joe Morelle wields a lot of clout in the democratic controlled state Assembly and he says downtown is the area's cultural center. ""It brings people together. It's centrally located."

And Morelle says if people want state money for a new Broadway-type theater, then it should be located in the center city. "Because I think there's critical mass that you can build. You can bring people downtown to entertainment venues and I think it makes a great deal of sense."

Arnie Rothschild is chairman of Rochester Broadway Theatre League, the group that brings in touring Broadway shows. His group solicited letters of interest from the city and suburban towns and a selection committee will now pick one of those proposed sites. "We've always been proponents of its being in the city, I think for the last 15 years. But there may not be a city site proposed. We don't know that yet."

Two suburban sites that have been mentioned are in Brighton off South Winton Road and Medley Centre in Irondequoit. Rothschild said, "One of the things that everyone will begin to recognize is that there's going to be significant private money that will come into this project nowand so hopefully we find a site that our entire community can come around."

The Broadway Theatre League says the Auditorium Theatre on Main Street is too small for today's touring Broadway shows but Morelle agrees with Mayor Duffy that the Auditorium Theatre should be studied for being renovated and made bigger. "We should also remember one thing. We're in the midst of a very, very difficult economic time. Getting state money for any project at this point has been very difficult to do. And I don't think the Rochester Broadway Theatre League can dictate terms to the state of New York, or to the city of Rochester, or to the community broadly."

Today, the mayor's office said they remain committed to having an independent engineering study done on the Auditorium Theater. Spokesman Gary Walker said if it turns out a renovation is not doable, then they will discuss other downtown sites.

The Rochester Broadway Theatre League has scheduled a news conference Tuesday at 2 p.m. to announce who is on the list.

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