Renovation for Capitol Theater?

By Leigh Dethman
Deseret Morning News
      A renovation of the Capital Theatre could go forward if Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon gets his way.
      The theater refurbishment is one of several projects the mayor has asked the County Council to fund with Zoo, Arts and Parks sales-tax dollars. Today the mayor will find out if his recommendations made the council's first cut, when an advisory board presents its picks for ZAP funding at a County Council meeting. After that, the County Council will sift through the recommendations before making a final decision, expected in June, on who gets what from the ZAP funds.
      Corroon wants approximately $32 million to revitalize aging county buildings. "I just want to make sure our existing facilities are taken care of," he said.
      Council member Joe Hatch agreed it might be wise to focus on maintaining current facilities rather than building new ones. Ten years ago — the last time the county handed out ZAP funds for recreational and arts facilities — the council chose to finance construction of 12 new buildings.
The mayor's wish list this year includes upgrades to 10 recreational facilities and the Capitol Theatre. The theater is pegged for renovation as part of a proposed arts district — a $20 million project that consultants say could help rejuvenate downtown Salt Lake City. Corroon is asking the council to invest $4 million in ZAP funds for the theater.
      Community-services director Chris Crowley said the theater is in dire need of several upgrades. Sight lines and seating must be improved, the restrooms need to be expanded, the lobby is too small, and the various arts groups that use the theater need more workshop and rehearsal space.
      Once the council decides where to spend the ZAP money, the council wants work to upgrade the theater and other arts and recreational facilities across the county to start immediately. In order to do that, county leaders want voters to approve a $60-million bond on the November ballot.
      The bond would allow the county to get all of the money needed now for construction to start, rather than slowly collecting the money through sales-tax dollars over the next 10 years. If voters approved the bond, the sales-tax money collected for ZAP funds would then be used to pay off the note.