Public Meeting for MB Performing Arts Center

More than 100 people packed the two rooms of the MB Convention Center. / Lindsey Theis

It was standing room only as more than 100 people packed two rooms at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center Monday evening. The city of Myrtle Beach held a meeting for public input on a possible performing arts center.

In addition to getting feedback on the project, officials hope people will express how they feel about possible funding options for the center. One possibility for funding is a referendum for a tax increase.

If city council approves a referendum, the public would have to vote on a tax increase of approximately 3 mills, equal to about $24 dollars a year on a $200,000 owner-occupied property. The tax increase would be to repay $10 million in bonds to build the fine arts center.

After about two hours, that include a power point presentation about the project and comments from audience members about support for and against a center, Mayor John Rhodes asked the public to raise their hands in favor of a referendum and against. About 30 people raised their hands in favor. 5 hands were raised in opposition.

The plans for proposed performing arts center include a 832 seat theatre, a "black box" performance space, a rehearsal hall, a lobby art gallery, dual dressing rooms, back-of-house scenery and construction space, bathrooms, a concession stand, and a box office.

In 1999, the city purchased the Rivoli Theatre with the intention of turning it into a performing arts facility. But leaders of the Rivoli Theater Group, the fundraising arm for the facility, determined in 2008 that reviving the theater would be too expensive.

In June, Christian youth group Ground Zero signed a lease for the Rivoli Theatre with the city.

Can't attend the meeting? Leave us your thoughts about the performing arts center in the comment section below.