I was reading Caleb Hale's nice piece about the Varsity Theater building in the SI yesterday and was amused by the constant rattling of the pauper's cup by the Stage Company.
Let's recount a little history. They had a free building for many years. Put on shows, had a nice time, did good things. But they didn't do any maintenance on the building and like most buildings in Southern Illinois, if you do no maintenance the building falls apart. Sad end, the building was torn down. Now they are searching for a home and would like someone else to pay for it. I guess I understand that feeling, I like it when someone else pays too.
Today, there are many stages for rent in Southern Illinois for a fairly low rent. SIU alone has 4 or 5 stages to choose from. Throw in CCHS and a few other places and you realize we have a huge number of unused stages for rent in a town of 24,000 people. But, renting a stage isn't optimum, it would be so much nicer if someone would build the Stage Company a new building to their specifications and maintain it forever, for free.
I have been approached a few times to see if I wanted to write "the check" to make the "Stage Company's" dream a reality. Any good fund raiser will tell you to ask a key question, has everyone in your group pledged or given money already? The "Stage Company's" answer is something like we are too poor to give money. Oops.
Let's assume that you can rent any stage in Carbondale for $200 per night. Let's further assume they need the stage for 30 straight days, 4 times a year. That is $24,000 per year. I bet that is less then the electric bill on a new building they propose. You had to know that the $600k was just the beginning of the money they wanted right? Starts to make a new pool look reasonable.
What do you think? Are you ready to have the tax payers pony up the money to make the "Stage Company's" dream a reality? I'm not feeling the love myself.