CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Outside of her family, dancing and teaching dancing is Shannon McConville’s life. She spends hours at the Stavna Ballet in Chesterfield helping little ones and adults perfect their moves.
McConville is eager to see artist sketches of a proposed performing arts center come to life.
“The greatest thing for a dancer is being on stage. We don’t have an arts center here in Chesterfield,” she said. “This would be great for us because as dancers we’d have a place to perform. I think the community will be better because of it.”
In a 2004 bond referendum, Chesterfield voters approved the county to spend $6.9 million to help build the performing arts center at a site on Centre Street in Chester Village.
Plans call for a 350-seat theatre, a multi-purpose room, classrooms, a lobby that doubles as an art gallery and ample parking. The deadline for securing private funds necessary to release the sale of bonds for the project is fast approaching.
CBS 6 News asked the foundation leading this initiative why it has taken so long for this project to get done. Hugh Cline, who’s in charge of fundraising, says the economy had a lot to do with it.
“Everything was zooming along and then the recession came. It slowed up in 2006 and we didn’t get started again until last year,” Cline explained.
Cline says the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation is partnering with Chesterfield County to bring the $8 million facility to the community.
The foundation is charged with raising the private funds to support the building of the performing arts center. In the past several months they’ve pulled in more than six hundred fifty thousand dollars and another three hundred thousand dollars are pending.
Now, the pressure is on to raise $2 million more.
Cline says the Board of Supervisors must act soon to issue the bonds. It’s something that the board could vote on at its meeting on Aug. 27. Cline says he’s feeling confident that by raising awareness among the community that the project is still forging ahead, they can raise the necessary money.
“The demand is certainly there. The numbers work and with more time I think we can raise the money. It is certainly very feasible and we’re pretty confident,” Cline added.
The foundation is taking pledges and donations at this time. Representatives will share that information with board members at the August Board of Supervisors meeting.
CBS 6 News found out that counties have to adhere to certain guidelines when it comes to issuing general obligation bonds. According to state law, a county has 8 years after a bond referendum to issue the bonds to complete certain projects.
If that doesn’t happen, they have the ability to apply for a two year extension through the Circuit Courts.
Cline says in this case the Chesterfield bonds expire at the end of 2014. And if enough private funds are not raised to go along with the money the county plans to pitch in, essentially the project dies.
Cline says those who want to contribute to help build the performing arts center can do so by making a pledge and sending the form to the Chesterfield Center for the Arts in Chester.
Officials are also accepting contributions through GiveRichmond.org. and PayPal. For more information, go to www.artschesterfieldva.org.