Paul Thompson
The $10 million Alpine community center would include a recital hall, several dance studios, a cafe and several small retail shops.

ALPINE — A group of residents working in conjunction with the Alpine Arts Council is bringing a longtime dream of a community center in the cozy Utah County city closer to reality.

During a recent presentation to the Alpine City Council, members of the arts council presented their plans for a $10 million community center. Within four months they have already raised $1.3 million in private donations and have purchased the 3.5-acre plot where the center will be located.

"We have done a feasibility study for this multipurpose building, and we are convinced that the community would benefit greatly from such a building," said Paul Thompson, a board member of the arts council. "We are also convinced that there is a tremendous amount of interest in this."

Last December the arts council conducted a community survey; more than 90 percent of the people surveyed said they would like to see Alpine develop one of the following: a senior lounge, post office, library or cultural arts center. Upon looking at those results, they decided to incorporate all of them within the large building that will be located at approximately 250 S. Main St.

Included in the cultural arts center would be the new Alpine Community Theater, a recital hall to be used by local teachers and students, as well as several dance studios. The building would also host a small cafe and several small retail shops.

"The whole idea is to provide a place where the Alpine community can gather and enjoy themselves," arts council board member Jeff Snyder said. "We anticipate that this will become the heart of Alpine."

The arts council, which is a nonprofit organization, is also in the process of getting federal and state grant applications written to help with the rest of the money that will be needed to fund the project. If its grant applications are successful, the council will target next spring as the start date for construction of phase one of the project.

The only concern mentioned by the council was the parking arrangements for such a large building in the city. Thompson acknowledged that the parking would need some help from neighboring businesses, as the estimated parking around the building would be only 70 to 100 spots. Thompson said members have already approached several business owners in the area and they seemed willing to permit overflow parking in their lots after business hours.

Other than the parking concern, the City Council seemed excited about the prospect of such a gathering place within the boundaries of the city.

"This is something that the arts council has been working on extensively for quite a while," said councilman Thomas Whitchurch. "It has come and gone away several times, but now we have group of individuals that are actually making it happen."

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