The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has been awarded $80.7 million this year for projects across the area. And some of the awards are substantial: $5 million for a high-tech startup incubator in downtown, $2 million for Eastman Business Park's Biosciences Manufacturing Center, and $3 million toward redeveloping the Sibley building.
Buried in the list is a small, yet significant allocation: the city will get $100,000 toward an arts center feasibility study. The city had requested $270,000 to do a study.
The state's regional council awards booklet says that the study is the first step toward a $100 million performing arts center in downtown. The funding will support initial site selection work, it says.
Previously, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said that the study would examine factors including economic impact, potential sites, and possible subsides.
But any talk of a performing arts center will inevitably raise questions about who will operate and program it. The Rochester Broadway Theatre League is a likely choice, and the group has been interested in a new downtown theater.
RBTL had signed on to operate and program a theater at the redeveloped Medley Centre in Irondequoit, but legal and financial problems appear to have doomed the Medley project.