TRUCKEE, Calif. — The lights went out this week on hopes the gap in funding for a proposed 14,000 square-foot performing arts center might be funded entirely by charitable contributions.Recently released findings from a three-month study by Lester Consulting Group, Inc., and commissioned by the Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District identified $324,149 to $389,999 in potential gifts available for the project. The gifts represent only 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent of the $15 million goal.The findings don't negate the possibility the district's board could raise enough funds to finance a performing arts center, said Shana Fain McDonald, Lester's senior vice president. It just means the board will have to figure out how to get where it wants to be, she said.In a written report, McDonald reminded the board of its prior studies — the 2006 strategic plan; the 2008 needs assessment plan and the 2011 economic impact report — which all showed the community would benefit from a performing arts center in terms of jobs, income and economic output.“Why wouldn't you try, and how can we make it happen?” she asked the board at its meeting Thursday evening.The board already plans to allocate $4 million to the project, officials have said. Estimated cost for the Tahoe-Truckee Performing Arts Center is between $7.8 million to $12 million, depending on design features.The $15 million goal includes a $3 million endowment fund to cover ongoing costs to maintain the center.The identified gifts reflect a more realistic future fundraising goal, McDonald said, of $1.5 to $2 million.McDonald recommended the board consider beginning a fundraising campaign to cultivate large donors through personal contacts; start building a separate fundraising team to manage the campaign; and pursue a November ballot bond measure asking for financial support not only for a performing arts center, but also for a proposed aquatic center.A bond measure would tax parcel owners within the district's boundaries an annual rate over a set time frame to round out the funding.The aquatics center would cost $6.5 million, $3 million of which has already been allocated. The center's design has been scaled down from its original 37,000-square-foot model to 26,500 square feet.Dan Kates of the Truckee Aquatic Coalition helped amend the design to bring its price tag down from an estimated $11 million. The decision between what to cut and what to leave in the design was “gut-wrenching,” he told the board Thursday, but he is happy with what is now proposed.The $3 million and the $4 million allocation for the performing arts center come from a $7 million surplus left by the construction of the Community Recreation Center in 2009.
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