"If they open it, we'll finish it."
That's the word from the , which voted Tuesday to submit a letter to the ' board of directors, describing its intent to complete phase 2 of the 's construction.
The plan will focus on finishing the second floor of the new venue, which is located near Bradenton's Riverfront. The second floor will include classrooms, a sewing room, costume storage, room for rehearsal, meeting space and a catering kitchen. Kiwanis will be ready to contribute $1.1 million to fund all of that, says John Vita, a Kiwanis board of directors member and committee head for the art center collaboration.
"We think there's a lot of very good things happening in the downtown area," Vita told Patch. "And we want to be part of that."
The $1.1 million will come from the sale of Kiwanis' current hall at 1401 21st Avenue West. The proceeds from that sale and some additional cash will make up the funds, Vita said. In exchange, Kiwanis would use the new venue for its meetings and special events. "It would truly be a community hall type of place," he said.
Vita envisions businesses bringing clients to the second floor space for special dinners before watching a Manatee Players performance. "There's a lot of different things that part of the facility brings to the table," he said.
The Players are currently about $1.2 million away from opening the doors of the art center. On Tuesday they received word that the Tourism Development Council announced a $250,000 challenge grant for the center, Janine Witham, the Players' executive director told Patch.
"When that grant is matched, it will put us well under $1 million" away from goal, Witham said. The Players are committed to opening in March 2013 with the community's financial support, she said.
The Kiwanis partnership is contingent on approval by the City of Bradenton, the Bradenton Riverfront Partners. "We could not as for a better player at the table moving forward," Witham said of Kiwanis.