Consultant recommends 1,500-seat performing arts center for Waco | Local government and politics

“We need to find sustained support for this. We are funding a legacy,” Barefield said.

Mayor Dillon Meek joined others in acknowledging the hard work and tough decisions ahead.

“We’re all going to have to roll up our sleeves, hit the pavement and raise some money,” Meek said.

Creative Waco executive director Fiona Bond, who joined Keen at the presentation in support of a performing arts center, said she was heartened by the support not only from city officials , but also by supporters of the arts at the meeting.

“I’m glad we have such broad support, even though we have the granular reality to make it happen,” Bond said.

She said building a center “from scratch” has fewer planning and imaginative constraints than renovating an existing building. She also said a potential riverside location near Baylor University’s planned basketball arena near University Parks Drive and Interstate 35 could have several advantages, including shared parking facilities.

Leaders and supporters of the Waco Symphony Association have envisioned and discussed a new performing arts center to replace the Waco Symphony Hall for the past two decades. Waco Symphony Association executive director Carolyn Bess, who attended the meeting with several association board members and staff, said that while its suggested reduced size was a concern, the prospect of a new center was “extremely exciting”.

William E. Bennett