West T. Hill Theatre wants Save-A-Lot building

September 15, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

West T. Hill Community Theatre wants to move into the Save-A-Lot building on Main Street that is owned by the city.

Attempts by Commissioner Jamey Gay to discuss the building's fate at the Sept. 8 meeting, the same day Save-A-Lot announced its plans to move, were postponed until Mayor John W.D. Bowling returns from an extended vacation.

Save-A-Lot has sent the city a one-year notice on its lease. The grocery store plans to move to the Piggly Wiggly shopping center on East Lexington Avenue.

"We've been looking for a place in the Heart of Danville for a long time," said Karen Logue, a member of the theatre's board of directors. "What a perfect place (Save-A-Lot) would be for the theatre."


Commissioners budgeted $50,000 to hire a consultant to look at uses for city property. Five consultants applied for the job. Bowling made a motion to table a decision on the consultants because he had a question about the plan, said Commissioner Ryan Owens.

Owens could not remember what that question was, but said it needed to be answered before a consultant could be chosen. He also didn't know where the mayor was or when he would return.

"We have an increasingly urgent need to begin our work on the city facility master plan," Gay said in an e-mail response Thursday to a question from The Advocate-Messenger.

Owens said today that the commissioners would make a decision with public input that was in the best interest of the city, and that he would like to take the issue up "as soon as possible."

"When the time comes we will weigh all the options," Owens said.

West T. Hill is located on Larrimore Lane in an old warehouse owned by Centre College that seats 125 people. Logue said that it doesn't have much storage space or room backstage. During the theatre's recent production of Fiddler on the Roof, Logue said the cast of 30 was cramped.

The group has tried unsuccessfully to buy the Poynter Building and an apartment house on Broadway. The theatre group said being next to the proposed Community Arts Center in the Federal Building at Main and Fourth streets would be a plus.

"We are excited about the prospect of the new Community Arts Center and think it would be an incredible opportunity to be in close proximity to the services there," Kenneth Dickey, president of West T. Hill, wrote in a letter to the City Commission.

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