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Mayor requests $100M for performing arts center

Rochester, N.Y. -- A letter sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sparked new hope for a performing arts center downtown. Mayor Lovely Warren asked the state for $100 million to build a new theatre in Midtown.

"We've been talking about this for 19 years," said Arnie Rothschild, chairman of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League. "I was pleased to see that now we have a mayor that's real aggressive with downtown projects."

More than 80 years old, Rochester's Auditorium Theatre is outdated and small.

"RBTL needs a new theatre," Rothschild said. "Not wants a new theatre; we need one."

If and when the city will get that money next year is still up in the air, at least until the state's new budget is due April 1.

"It's commerce and it brings people and it binds people," said Ronald Palozi. "It's very important. What's good for the arts is good for the city.

"If it's better theatre than what we have for like Broadway plays and stuff, I think it would be a good thing to have."

According to Rothschild, a new performing arts center would mean 220 nights a year of brand new entertainment with better quality and more popular shows.

"For a performing arts center, they just come from the outside and they come in, go to those and then they go home," said Maria Chaum. "The city needs to focus on helping residents, not making it a more attractive place for visitors.

"The city is so rundown around the edges. I think that it should go towards people who need help. A new theatre should be at the bottom of the city's list of priorities, and that $100 million should go elsewhere.

Even if the city doesn't get the state funding, RBTL will continue to work toward building a new theatre. The only question is where it will go.

At this point, Rothschild said it's a race between Midtown and the Medley Centre in Irondequoit. Whoever moves the quickest, Rothschild said, will get the performing arts theatre.

 
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