SKyPAC board looking closer at dowtown move

Josh Coffman

Some of the pieces in the effort to revitalize Bowling Green’s downtown district may be falling into different parts of the puzzle.

Members of the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center board approved a motion Tuesday to look further into the possibility of building the center in downtown Bowling Green.

Initially the SKyPAC board purchased land and made arrangements to lease land to the university to build the arts center on Center Street next to campus.

The SKyPAC board has hired Hardy, Holzman and Pfeiffer, a consulting firm from New York, to study several sites within a 10-block downtown area in the city’s redevelopment district.

“The desire of the board is to try and locate downtown,” board chairman Rick McCue said.

Gene Tice, vice president of Student Affairs and campus services, said he was unaware of the SKyPAC board’s Tuesday decision.

He said it is too early to say how the move will affect Western or what will be done with the Center Street location, which is now used for parking.

“We’ll be interested in working with SKyPAC,” he said. “But until we get some definite decisions we can’t say much of anything.”

President Gary Ransdell has previously said the freed space on Center Street could be used to build the Greek Village if SKyPAC is built downtown.

The university could save as much as $1 million on the village if it’s built on the SKyPAC property, Ransdell previously said.

McCue said that regardless of where SKyPAC is built, part of the center’s space could be dedicated as rehearsal and storage space for performing arts departments at Western, in what he dubbed “an extended downtown campus.”

But such plans are tentative and are still under discussion, he said.

Building downtown could help SKyPAC in efforts to fund the arts center’s construction, McCue said. And having the arts center downtown could help further propel efforts to revitalize the area.

Alice Burks, the city’s assistant to the director of community development for special projects, said before Tuesday’s announcement that she had looked at the city’s downtown redevelopment map.

He said that tightened state spending and the possibility of relocating the arts center have kept plans to build from going forward.

The SKyPAC board wants to be able to recoup money spent on the Center Street site if the center moves, McCue said. The board must next work out arrangements with the university and city once the consulting firm has made a recommendation for a downtown site.

The firm is expected to give the results of the site study in the next two weeks, McCue said.

Reach Josh Coffman at [email protected]