Get PAC right

For several months, we have observed as Nashua officials continue to make progress on the downtown Performing Arts Center, planned for the former Alec’s Shoes building at the corner of Main and West Pearl streets.

What was once reported as a $15.5 million endeavor has now been reduced in scope to $12.5 million, we learned last week from Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings.

“There’s decisions about reducing some elements of the current schematic design to be able to make that $12.5 million figure,” Cummings told our reporter after a special Board of Aldermen meeting.

This development, of course, came one week after we reported that the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority had awarded a $367,500 tax credit to assist with the project’s construction.

Still, Cummings cautioned officials have “taken a little bit of a pause.”

“Right now, we are trying to get back on schedule, but there is going to be a slight delay before we enter into the next phase, which is construction documents,” Cummings added.

The city is planning to use New Market Tax Credits to help build the PAC. Cummings last week said officials are in the process of putting together the legal structures necessary to be able to complete the deal. This involves Community Development Entities (CDEs). According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, a CDE is a “domestic corporation or partnership that is an intermediary vehicle for the provision of loans, investments, or financial counseling in low-income communities.”

Alderman Tom Lopez in May said, “I just think it would be important for people to remember that downtown is within a poverty area – if they remember that downtown is more than just north, south Main Street,” regarding the concept of using the New Market Tax Credits for the PAC.

This, however, came after a March meeting, during which officials said design concepts called for the center to feature interior seating capacity of 750 – and a rooftop terrace featuring food and drink at a height of 65 feet.

If all of this leaves your head spinning, we know the feeling.

We at The Telegraph have supported, and continue to support, the general concepts for the Performing Arts Center.

However, the details of how this is going to actually happen, how much it is going to cost, and what it is going to look like, seem to remain in a state of flux.

At the same time, not a day goes without us getting a phone call, an email, a Facebook message, or some other form of communication about the sad state of Nashua’s roads and streets.

We hope city officials succeed with the PAC, while doing so at a reasonable cost.