There are already places to take in performing arts in Auburn, but now there is a push to add another downtown. It would be part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. There's still some work to do before construction starts. Iris St. Meran tells us about an effort to get more support from the public.
AUBURN, N.Y. -- For now, this section of State Street in Auburn is an empty lot. But if the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce and other interested parties have their way, it will become the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center.
Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrew Fish said, "We're very enthusiastic about it. It will be the flagship for the Downtown Theatres for the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. A 300 seat theatre which will be complimentary to the Merry Go Round Downtown at Auburn Public Theatre, as well as the Theatre Max space."
Fish says this has been in the works for a few years, but there have been delays due to litigation. But now there's a renewed push to get it off the ground. The environmental review process is moving along and approvals are pending from lawmakers. The chamber of commerce is pushing people to sign a petition.
"We want to see a show of support from the entire Central New York region and really fans of the musical theatre festival that come from Ohio and Canada," said Fish.
One supporter is right next door. A partner of the bar, A.T. Walley and Co., is ready to a have a new neighbor on the block.
A.T. Walley and Co. Partner Nick Musso explained, "It'll definitely increase the arts awareness in our community, in our surrounding communities. What's nice is the Auburn Public Theatre, they offer a theatre space as well and it's nice because people come Downtown. They come into Auburn from out of town."
And they hope to get a green light to build on that momentum.
Fish says it will cost around $7 million and will be owned by Cayuga Community College. Half of the cost will come through fund raising efforts by the festival. The goal is to begin construction in the spring.
To learn more about the chamber's efforts and to view the petition, visit www.change.org.