Tavares city leaders look to build new performing arts center

Cost for 800-seat facility still unknown

TAVARES, Fla. – Big changes could be coming to downtown Tavares. City leaders are getting closer to building an entertainment center that would include a theater for up to 800 people.
Jaquuie Lootz owns Tavares Ice Cream in the downtown district. She said her business can get busy if there is a big event in town.
"If there's an event that day, my profits usually triple or quadruple," Lootz said.
She's excited about the possibility of the city adding a large performing arts center and the big crowds it would bring.
"Just drawing that amount of people into this town would be a huge help for everybody," Lootz said.
Residents recently got their first look at the proposed 10,000-square-foot performing arts center during a workshop last week. The facility would be located behind Tavares City Hall on Rockingham Avenue.
The center would feature a theater for up to 800 people, a smaller theater for around 120 guests, space for rooftop performances and a parking garage for up to 600 vehicles.
Jenny Deschenes is the general manager of BTW and Bru Tap House. The new performing arts center would be located behind the businesses.
"With us being so close, we're excited for the extra business hopefully coming our way," she said.
Mayor Troy Singer said the project will likely be voted on by residents once it moves a little further along. The city is still waiting to learn how much it will cost and how it could be funded.
Singer said art and culture are lacking in the city. He said in an email he hopes this new performing arts center "would only enhance Tavares and would add to our already booming downtown “entertainment” district."
According to the mayor, a design team is expected to bring its preliminary report to the City Council on March 20 to help city leaders get a better idea of if and when this project could become a reality. The final report is scheduled to be presented April 3.

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