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Originally published: 2014-02-19 13:29:26
Last modified: 2014-02-19 13:30:12

App Theatre raises $3M, seeks land donation

by Anna Oakes

Representatives from Appalachian Theatre of the High Country on Tuesday requested a land donation from the town of Boone to build a wing onto the existing downtown theater stage.

"This is space that is very badly needed for the theater," said John Cooper, ATHC chairman, to the Boone Town Council. "If we don't have that, then we don't have a theater that is really versatile for all types of performances."

The nonprofit ATHC organization formed in 2012 to restore and reopen the 75-year-old theater as a performing arts venue and community space. The town purchased the facility on King Street for $624,000 in a 2011 foreclosure sale, and last July ATHC paid off the loan from the town and assumed control of the building.

The organization has been raising funds for the theater in a silent phase of a capital campaign for which a goal has not yet been announced, but on Tuesday Cooper said that nearly $3 million has been raised -- with most of that coming in since last summer.

Architect Steve Schuster said the space needed for the wing addition would consume between three and four parking spaces behind the Boone Town Hall.

Town Manager Greg Young said all of the spaces beside Town Hall are used by town staff except for three visitor spaces. He said the town could provide visitor parking accommodations in the adjacent gated parking lot but that it would result in less revenue for the town from those spaces.

The council voted to request specific dimensions and details about the request from the architect.

The council deferred consideration of an amendment to the town's towing ordinance until Thursday's continuation of the meeting to give the district attorney's office time to review the amendment.