Voters will decide next week whether money from Fayetteville’s hotel-motel-restaurant tax will go toward new projects at the Walton Arts Center and a regional park in South Fayetteville.
“We thought we could meet two needs at the same time and provide a better quality of life for the citizens of Fayetteville,” says Marilyn Heifner, executive director of the Fayetteville Advertising and Planning Commission.
Not only would the $20 million renovation to the Walton Arts Center free up performance space and expand the lobby, it would also give a complete facelift to the front of the building and extend the entrance almost all the way to the sidewalk.
Refurbishing the Starr Theater and expanding the main backstage area would draw more acts of all sizes to Northwest Arkansas, from one-man-bands to Broadway spectaculars. It would also be two years of construction on a busy corner in Fayetteville’s entertainment district.
“It’s not going to close down Dickson Street,” Heifer says. “I think it’s kind of, ‘pardon our dust, we’re remodeling,’ y’know, ‘and we’re making it a bigger, better place.'”
Since the Walton Arts Center updates and proposed park use an existing tax instead of creating a new one, Heifner and other advocates call it a win-win.
“And that tax is not going away,” Heifner says. “The advertising and promotions committee will just find other ways to spend the money… So we hope we’re answering some needs for Fayetteville citizens.”