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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Greensboro Arts Alliance Eyes Town Hall For Theater

An arts organization in Greensboro is hoping the community will get behind an effort to convert the town hall into a theater and arts facility. An anonymous donor is willing to pay for the project, but first the Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residencymust convince the voters this is the best use of the public space.

November meeting minutes of the Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency's Theater Exploratory Committee state:

GAAR plans for the building to be a state-of-the-art facility open to the use of individuals (via practice and rehearsal studios with pianos and dance floors that anyone could use for free) or organizations (via the performance hall, which other Greensboro area institutions and events such as Summer Music From Greensboro, Wonder & Wisdom, Vermont Vaudeville, The Funnery, Caspian Monday Music, Lakeview Elementary, Town Meeting, The Town’s Various Committees, or any other NEK organizations could use as they so please). GAAR’s anonymous donor intends for the building to be a gift not only to GAAR, but the town. The building would require staff, which would add jobs to the economy of the town. The building would also bring people to the town, which would be economically beneficial as well. GAAR as administrator and non-profit owner of the building will ensure that the building is a center of life and vitality for the benefit of all.

The Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency has already selected an architect for the Town Hall Theater project - someone with experience building modern art facilities while preserving historic structures. Hugh Hardy, of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, has designed theatrical venues ranging from the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater to the renovation of News York's Lincoln Center.

But here's the hitch: The Greensboro Town Hall is currently in use both as town offices and as overflow space for Lakeview Elementary School.

The Theater Exploratory Committee minutes state the project costs would include relocating the town offices, possibly into a brand new building.

GAAR has offered to make a legal guarantee to cover all costs that a move of the Town Offices would incur, including construction of an entirely new building for the Town at a site of the Town’s choosing. The old offices in the current Town Hall would be renovated into modern facilities for the Town Hall Theater, which could potentially be offered back to the Town should GAAR no longer want the building.

However, there is not yet an answer to the address the school's space needs:

The other point of question, Lakeview Elementary’s use of several rooms within the existing Town Hall building, has been less addressed to date. ... [Committee member] Bridget [Collier] points out that, regardless of what the School District does with Lakeview, what the Theater Exploratory Committee needs to be able to say to both the Select Board and the Town Meeting is that the School Board has determined that it will be able to manage reasonably without the use of the rooms in the Town Hall Building.

In the meantime, the Theater Exploratory Committee is lining up meetings with both the school board and the select board to answer as many questions as possible prior to Town Meeting in March.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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