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Top Assembly Official Says More Work Needed On Proposal For Performing Arts Center

 Downtown Rochester skyline view.
Max Schulte
Downtown Rochester skyline view.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is talking about her recent request to state officials for $100 million for a performing arts center downtown. She says it’s Rochester’s time to get its fair share. That’s after looking at the state doling out money to Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany, Warren says why not?            

"In order to receive we must ask first. You know closed mouths don't get fed. And we have to be willing to put those projects on the table and hopefully over the next year build up the support for that. And talk with the governor and his team if that can be funded."

Warren says she plans to talk with members of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and residents to get them to support the project.

Meantime, Assemblyman Joe Morelle of Irondequoit, who is also the Assembly Majority Leader tells WXXI News that more information will have to be provided by city officials about plans for a theater before state lawmakers can consider it.

Besides the cost of building a theater, Morelle says there are questions about the ongoing expenses of operating it.

“All of these theaters around the country operate at substantial operating deficits, meaning that somehow the community has to agree to not only build it, but then maintain it in the future and that will mean probably million dollar plus subsidies and the question is who’s going to be responsible for that.”

Morelle also notes that there already have been improvements made to a number of local performing arts theaters in the Rochester area, including at  Nazareth College, the Auditorium Theatre and Geva, so any additional state money has to take that into account.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.