ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For months, seats at the BMO Harris Bank Center and Coronado Performing Arts Center have been empty due to COVID-19. Monday night, Rockford City Council voted to keep the venues in tip-top shape for when spectators are allowed to return.
“It’s important that they are maintained, because the reality is, in order for them to be booked to their capacity, we need to be attractive to performers and artists, they expect the venues to be in Grade-A shape,” explained RAVE Board Chairman Craig Thomas.
A pair of Forest City attractions are on track to bring in revenue for another two decades. Monday, the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Board outlined a plan to improve the Coronado Performing Arts and BMO Harris Bank centers over a span of 20 years.
“Both facilities have some facade work, some concrete repair work that needs to be done on the exterior of the building, but it’s also to deal with the HVAC systems as they reach their life span,” Thomas said.
Thomas says maintenance will run up a bill of nearly $20 million. He says that money will likely come from grants and the city’s redevelopment fund.
“So now in the committee, they’ll begin to say ‘where did the money come from? how is it going to be paid for? What’s to be done first? What’s to be done next?” Alderman Frank Beach explained.
Rockford City Alderman and RAVE committee member Frank Bleach says the council will tweak the plan as issues come up.
“This is our property, and we’re out and there’s things that need to be done and that’s what’s happening and I’m, I think it’s the prudent thing to do,” Ald. Bleach added.
RAVE council members hope to start making improvements to the venues starting in the fall.
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