Courtesy of Scott Vandyke
Artist's rendering shows exterior of South Davis Performing Arts Center, to be built near 400 West and 500 North in Centerville.

It's going to take more than the tax revenue generated from a RAP (recreation, arts and parks) tax in Bountiful and Centerville to build a new performing arts center in Centerville.

Officials who backed the RAP tax in 2007 have asked the Davis County Board of Commissioners to contribute about $500,000 a year for the next 10 years out of the county's tourism fund.

They argue that some of the tourism revenue, which comes from hotel rooms, restaurants and car rentals, is generated in Bountiful and Centerville and should be spent on the theater, which could have a groundbreaking this fall and would include a 500-seat main theater, as well as a 150- to 200-seat black box theater, recital halls and recording space.

It would also mean a new home for the Rodgers Memorial Theatre, which has resided in a strip mall on Pages Lane since 1991.

Bountiful and Centerville residents voted to impose a .1-cent sales tax specifically to build a South Davis Performing Arts Center, and the two city councils have agreed to contribute 90 percent of the tax revenue generated by the tax to the project over the next eight years.

But that's $5 million, about one-third the estimated construction cost of the building.

The RAP tax failed in Woods Cross by 40 votes and West Bountiful by one.

Centerville's redevelopment agency plans to contribute $5 million plus the land for the new theater, which is slated to be built on 2.5 acres of open land near 400 West and 500 North.

The theater group that runs Rodgers is searching for a private donor to pay for some of the construction costs in exchange for naming rights.

Davis County could contribute $5 million needed for construction costs if commissioners choose to participate, something that will require very careful decision-making, says Commissioner Louenda Downs.

"We will look carefully at any opportunity, at any way we could be supportive of that," Downs said.

But the tourism budget is tight, she said.

Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said the county's tourism fund is expected to receive about $5.2 million in revenue this year. But most of that money is already allocated for the Davis Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Davis Conference Center, bonds for the center and its expansion, tourism, Davis County Events Center and the ice sheet at the South Davis Recreation Center, located in Bountiful.

Budget assumptions have been made for the next 10 years, Rawlings says, and if commissioners want to make a change in the 2009 budget, it will mean a change in assumptions.

"If commissioners stick with plan, there would not be funds available," Rawlings said.

Centerville finance director Blaine Lutz said the new center's administrative board would likely try to issue bonds to cover the theater's construction in 2009.

But if Davis County can't come through, then perhaps the construction work could be completed on the main theater and black box while leaving part of the center unfinished until more funding can be secured, Lutz said, though that's a less favorable option.

"We think this is a worthy project that will benefit the whole county," Lutz said.

Rawlings and Downs agree.

Downs called it a wonderful project and promised to come to a decision quickly with the other two commissioners.

"There's no one in our county that doesn't feel like it's a worthwhile venture," Rawlings said.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to contribute to the performing arts center can contact Lutz at Centerville City Hall by calling (801) 295-3477.


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