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    Monday
    May142012

    Where Will the Bentonville Walton Arts Center Be Located?

    That is the question on the lips of many of the local residents here. We know that the center is coming, but where? Rumors abound and locations all around town have be put forth and debated. One thing is for sure, it IS coming and soon. Projected construction is for 2014 and folks, that's just around the corner.

    Documents found within the Arts Center website point to a 2000 seat auditorium with a main floor and one or two balconies. The main floor will have the ability to be flattened out to hold 1300 seats. It will have plenty of stage space with a fly tower. (giving the ability to use larger sets.) Also included is an orchestra pit with acoustical shell. Adjacent or included is a 200 seat educational theater and a multipurpose room for 30 people. Lobby will accomodate 100 people and there will be an art gallery too.

    Projected cost will be in the neighborhood of $160 million dollars. There will be a total of 191,800 gross square footage of space, putting us on par with some great halls around the country, including the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville (197,000 gr sqft); Rensselar Polytechnic Institute of Experimental Media and PAC in Troy, NY (217,700 gr sqft); Mondavi Center at the University of California Davis in Sacremento (103,600 gr sqft) and the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnatti. (215,000 gr sqft)

    This is no podunk theater. The economic impact on the area will be tremendous and the creation of jobs, both in the construciton industry and in the operation of the facility will be a boon to our unemployment, which is already fairly manageable.

    Links to these sites are at http://www.waltonartscenter.org/images/cms/ExecSummary.pdf  and

    http://www.waltonartscenter.org/futureplans.aspx  also http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2012/02/22/study-confirms-walton-arts-centers-plan-for-bentonville-addition

     It's all good and all good for the City of Bentonville. The downtown arts and entertainment district is booming. I haven't seen so many people on the square since the old photographs of Saturday sale day when every farmer from miles around came to town to do their shopping. The growing number of restaurants around the square are BOOMING! Looking at the 1% restaurant tax reports, although the Flying Fish didn't open until April, their tax was $2238, putting them at THIRD in the entire city. Not bad for a start-up restaurant with little dedicated parking. 45 minute wait times on the weekends are not unusual. Tusk and Trotter, Tavoli, and Table Mesa are pulling in respectable numbers too.

    Count me as LOVING IT!

      

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