Downtown Circus Part III

By: Lori Mitchell
By: Lori Mitchell

The vision for the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center began in 2000. Supporters say SKYPAC will be vital to enriching downtown life in Bowling Green. The 100,000 square foot building would serve many purposes.

"it would include an 1,800 seat auditorium, an education wing where folks would be directly engaged in creating art and a community converging center for the arts across the region."

Originally, SKYPAC was going to be built near Western Kentucky University. Much of the land needed for the center had already been purchased and plans for development were underway. Those plans changed last year when the city asked the center to be part of the downtown revitalization process.

City leaders referred to SKYPAC as an "anchor project" that would help attract businesses and people to downtown. Supporters of the center, like board member Dr. David Lee, are giving it their best pitch.

"I think it would attract a broad array of performances, traveling Broadway shows, local performances and I think it would run a whole array of performing arts."

When SKYPAC agreed to leave Western and move downtown, a three way agreement was reached between it, the city, and Western.
Western agreed to buy the land already purchased for SKYPAC for a million dollars and give that money to the city. That money would then be used to purchase land downtown. The city would be responsible for any extra money needed to buy the required land.
The DRA has long known it would have to invest some money in a downtown project before private businesses would commit to locate there. The city has since added stipulations to that signed agreement.
In July, the city commission gave SKYPAC 60 days to hire a new Executive Director, someone who would be in charge of raising enough money to get the project off the ground.

"Since SKYPAC was established, we've had a board, but a volunteer board, not somebody 24/7 to get up in the morning worrying about SKYPAC."

SKYPAC is about half-way through its 60 day window and board members say they've had plenty of interest in the position.

"I understand frustrations with it. It's a big project and for projects like this it's not uncommon to take a long time to get one like this up and running."

The SKYPAC board plans to meet again August 31st.


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