By Rob Glidden
Southington Community Cultural Arts (SCCA) has completed their feasibility study on the arts center plan for the Gura Building. When the Town Council gives its approval, the group will begin its fundraising efforts.
“I feel good about how it’s going,” said Mary DeCroce, chairperson of SCCA. “People are always coming up to me and telling me they want to be included.”
As part of the agreement the group made with the council in August, a feasibility study on the project had to be done within 90 days. SCCA was able to accomplish this and presented figures that indicated $1.7 million would be needed for the project.
This is higher than the $1.2 million estimate discussed earlier in the year. However, Peter Veronneau of the SCCA told the officials that the $1.7 million is likely to decrease due to the fact that the arts center project is not a public building effort and would be exempt from prevailing wage laws. The SCCA is also likely to make cuts to the proposal if necessary.
The brief presentation was accompanied by artistic renderings of what the new building would look like.
“It’s great to see such a good vision of the project,” said Town Councilor Chris Palmieri. “This will be a great asset to the community.”
With the new municipal center fully open and staffed, the Gura Building is nearly empty. Verroneau said the work on the building would involve an addition on the east side which would add a flight of stairs and an elevator.
The council said they would examine the new information and hopefully have a decision for the next meeting. SCCA will be required to raise 80 percent of the funds within 18 months ($1.36 million if the current estimate holds) and the members are confident that many donors will step up once the appeal has officially begun.
“We are ready and willing to go after that,” Verroneau said.
DeCroce added that the group was meeting with the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to discuss potential grants. She also noted that Governor Dannel Malloy has been described as a big supporter of the arts.