Council OKs theater upgrades

Washington Street also to get boost
Apr. 10, 2014 @ 05:34 PM

High Point’s city-run theater and a key revitalization target area will get upgrades following City Council decisions Thursday.
The council approved spending $500,000 to replace the High Point Theatre’s rigging and draperies. The money was budgeted last year, but the council decided to put the funding on hold until a theater study committee issued its report.
The committee earlier this year recommended that the council provide the funding and a series of other upgrades with the goal of drawing more programming to the facility.
The committee recommended that the city invest about $1.5 million for capital improvements, artists’ fees and a full-time marketing position.
The council hasn’t made any decisions yet on any of the committee’s recommendations beyond what it approved Thursday.
It did approve spending an estimated $429,005 for a streetscape project on Washington Street.
The neighborhood, which was the heart of High Point’s black business and cultural community during the era of segregation, has been a revitalization priority for years.
Under a plan approved Thursday, the city will make several improvements to Washington Street between N. Centennial Street and Gaylord Court. New street lighting — probably “decorative” black poles with light fixtures on top — will be added.
The city probably will keep the street lights in place that are already there, said Assistant City Manager Randy McCaslin.
New sidewalks on both sides of Washington Street will be built, as will bus shelters, crosswalks, benches, trash cans and planters.
The project will not entail burial of overhead power lines or other major infrastructure work that was envisioned in the master plan for the neighborhood adopted by the city in 2008.
The cost for a complete rehabilitation of the street would be $4.9 million, and council opted not to spend this much money.
McCaslin said he believes the project could start later this spring and take eight to 10 months to complete. He said the city will aim to keep the street open to traffic and will try to minimize inconveniences for Washington Street businesses and area residents during construction.
Funding for the project will come from two-thirds bonds that will be issued this summer, as well as water and sewer and electric fund revenues.
The council on Thursday also discussed a potential S. Main Street beautification project, but took no action.
The city has about $6.1 million in two-thirds bonds issued in 2012 that could be used to bury overhead utility lines, build sidewalks and make other improvements along S. Main Street from Business Interstate 85 to Guilford Technical Community College’s High Point campus.
The funding originally was slated for overhead power-line burials along N. Main Street through Uptowne, but was put on hold in deference to the Ignite High Point master plan’s recommendations.