Still no money for performing arts center

NASHUA – Early this year, city leaders approved the proposed $15.5 million downtown performing arts center for the former Alec’s Shoes building at the corner of West Pearl and Main streets.

However, the plan requires Nashua leaders to raise $4 million worth of private donations. Nearly eight months after the affirmative vote, officials have yet to raise any of this money.

“It will be a multipronged approach with looking to have corporate sponsorship, high-net-worth individuals, foundations, grants and tax credits,” Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings said of the planned fundraising efforts.

Cummings said as of now, the city remains in the first phase of the project. This involved paying a fundraising consultant about $50,000. That money was to be drawn from the Downtown Improvement Fund, which consists of parking meter revenue.

“That phase started in earnest two-ish months ago and should be concluding in the next couple weeks,” Cummings said. “Once we have that report and data back, we’ll be able to move into the next phase, which is the execution of the actual fundraising efforts.”

With a few different strategies in mind for reaching out to secure funds, the planned timeline remains the same in that it will take somewhere between eight months and two years to raise the $4 million.

Although Cummings acknowledged Thursday, it could take longer.

City officials can’t break ground with construction until the private funds are raised. Cummings said they received responses for both architectural and engineering services, as well as construction management services, on two bids that were sent out in August.

“We’ve also, to help us build a finance plan, brought up a professional tax credit consultant about two months ago, and have been working to make sure we understand what options we have to raise private capital from the private sector through tax credits,” he said.

“We’ve had a group of dedicated individuals meeting regularly throughout the summer on the PAC Steering Committee and have been working to advance this initiative,” Cummings added.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

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