For as long as he's been in office, McCarthy said, residents have been longing to create a performing arts venue in
At the same, city officials have been brainstorming ideas to help reinvigorate
McCarthy is proposing a new idea this week that could help the city make headway on both fronts. He is sponsoring legislation that would allow the city to solicit proposals from developers to build a new performing arts venue on top of the
With a limited amount of real estate in the heart of
"We've looked at performing arts venues for ages, and we always run into problems with locating them -- finding real estate to be used for that within the city," McCarthy said, "because things that are on the ground are valuable for other causes. ... So it occurred to me that looking at the garage tops was a reasonable way to do this."
One of the major concerns surrounding any potential location is whether it has sufficient parking.
McCarthy said the garages are under utilized at night, and could easily accommodate crowds attending a performance or a movie.
Bringing more activity to the garages also could help make them more appealing to visitors who are stopping downtown to visit other locations, McCarthy said.
He said the suggestion for a movie theater sprang to mind because it would address another cultural deficit downtown.
"It just seemed like that's another thing that could be put up there that would just be another draw to the downtown and a way to get more use for the garages that we already have," he said.
McCarthy is sponsoring legislation that would first instruct the city to determine whether the garages are capable of supporting new structures on the rooftops.
He proposes using up to
The legislation also would allow the city to pay up to
The new legislation would then call on the city to issue a request for proposals for the development of two new arts venues on the rooftops of the garages.
While developing a performing arts venue is a top priority, McCarthy said the garages present the potential for a range of uses, from permanent structures to temporary attractions in the summer.
"I think there's a whole range of things that could come out of it," he said.
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