Collin Arts Hall board ready for joint meeting with Frisco Council

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by STEVE STOLER / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on March 30, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 30 at 10:25 PM

FRISCO — Can the Collin County Arts Hall be built now? The stage is set for an important joint meeting of the Frisco City Council and the Arts of Collin County Board of Directors.

The arts board met Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of the April 8 meeting.

Board members are hopeful the upcoming meting with give them a clearer picture on where the arts project stands. But the big question is: When will Frisco city leaders feel comfortable selling bonds to help pay for it?

The head of the Arts Commission believes the project — at the intersection of Frisco, Allen, Plano and McKinney — would cost $20 million less if it were built now. That would force Frisco, Plano and Allen to start selling bonds in a down economy, something Frisco leaders vowed not to do because it would raise taxes.

"Cities have to be thinking three years down the road," said Mike Simpson, executive director of Arts of Collin County. "The project is going to take 30 months to build. What is it going to be like in 30 months? You can't just turn it on and off like a faucet."

Board member Nick Barretta questioned "ulterior motives" in Frisco, claiming it's a political attempt by City Council candidates to get elected on an anti-Arts Hall vote.

"There are so many other things the candidates should be talking about in Frisco; it's not just one issue. It's not just the Arts of Collin County," Barretta said.

Simpson said Frisco leaders may not be able to answer "when" they'll feel comfortable selling bonds until they know more about the city's financial situation after tax figures are released in the summer.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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