A couple of times, I’ve mentioned this proposal for a civic arts center in my hometown. I’ve said it’s a waste, won’t be successful and that it basically is a way for taxpayers to foot the bill for Maryville College. Well, it looks like this soon-to-be-known-as-a-colossal-failure is moving forward:
The city of Maryville on Tuesday committed the first share of public funds toward construction of a $55 million civic arts center on the campus of Maryville College.
City Council members agreed to issue $9,375,000 in bonds as the city share of the cooperatively funded arts center, which will contain a performing arts center, theater, academic space, and banquet and museum space.
Blount County and the city of Alcoa will be approached this month for funding commitments of $11.87 million and $3.75 million, respectively, said Maryville College Vice President for Advancement and Finance Mark Cate.
The college board of directors has already agreed to allot $20 million in privately raised funds to the project; federal and state funds will round out the funding plan. The project will be managed by Lawler-Wood.
Cumberland Securities will issue the bonds through the Blount County Economic Development Board at a variable rate of 4.5 percent payable over 25 years, Cate said. The governments’ share of the debt will not become payable until the $20 million in college funding is applied to the cost of the bonds. Maryville College President Dr. Gerald Gibson told City Council the fund-raising effort has already garnered $9.5 million.
So, the city (my the city) is going to go into debt to fund this thing and basically turn it over to Maryville College. The convention/arts center is being built for different types of entertainment and educational and conference activities. Who is going to come to Maryville for those things? The much larger city of Knoxville already has its own
boondoggle err convention center and it’s largely unused. Seriously, check out their calendar. People don’t come to East Tennessee for conferences, they go to touristy places like, say, Las Vegas or Orlando.
Mark my words, in a few years this will be an burden on the city (my the city), the county and the city of Alcoa.