Patrons not ready to give up on Collin County arts hall

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 17 at 6:36 PM

FRISCO — Frisco City Council members will meet Tuesday night to decide what's next for the city's participation in the Arts of Collin County.

Frisco voters revoked more than $16 million in bonds that would have helped pay for the proposed three-city arts complex.

While opponents are proclaiming the project dead, some of its biggest backers are holding on to hope.

James and Betty Muns have been working on creating a performing arts hall in Collin County for 10 years. James is the former mayor of Plano; Betty is the vice-president of the arts commission.

"We're not going to give up," Betty Muns said. "I don't know how we're going to do it, but we're going to work very hard." said

The Muns donated $1 million to the arts complex. The former mayor said while he respects the decision by Frisco voters, he is disappointed.

The arts hall, he said, would have brought in $25 million of economic value a year to Collin County.

"It's pretty easy to cut taxes. It's pretty easy to keep the tax rate like it is. But it's difficult to generate economic value to your area," James Muns said.

Frisco has already spent $3.5 million on the project. Plano spent $4.5 million, and Allen contributed another $3.37 million. That's a total of $11.4 million spent on a project that may never be built.

McKinney auto dealer Stan Graff is one or 490 private donors not yet ready to give up.

"We're still committed to the Arts of Collin County," he said. "I think it's a project that will be of great benefit to the community."

Graff said he intends to make good his $1 million pledge to the arts complex. "I still think there’s a great demand," he said.

The mayors and city managers of the member cities are planning to meet to discuss the big question: What's next for the Arts of Collin County?

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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