Long Center asks city for $300,000 a year

The Long Center for the Performing Arts (Kate Weidaw, KXAN).

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council could decide on financial support for The Long Center for the Performing Arts Thursday morning.

The nonprofit has asked for $300,000 a year to go toward capital improvement projects.

Right now, The Long Center has an operating budget of $8.5 million a year — something the performing arts center is able to cover through donations, ticket sales and the hotel occupancy tax.

But when it comes to having anything left over for capital improvement projects such as new carpet, replacing chairs, or upgrading the HVAC system , Executive Director and CEO Jamie Grant said there is nothing left over.

“You can’t let things slip and not keep up with it, and if this plan is approved it will provide annual support to keep on top of this place,” said Grant.

For the last year, Grant has been talking to city officials about providing financial support until their lease expires in August 2052.

Part of the agreement the city will vote on would not only provide up to $300,000 a year but also require The Long Center to partner with the Palmer Events Center and the Austin Convention Center to try and bring in more conventions — all in an effort to generate more revenue.

“There are lots of conventions that have guest speakers, and this is a pretty good location for guest speakers, particularly for large conventions,” said Grant.

When The Long Center was built six years ago, the $88 million building was paid for through donations.

But it is a city-owned building on city property – leading some to believe city officials should play a role in its general upkeep.

If it’s approved that financial help would come from the city’s yearly general fund starting in Fiscal Year 2015.

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