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The Stanley: Waiting In The Wings

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-874743.mp3

Utica, NY – After spending millions of dollars, the residents of one Central New York city are still waiting for investment in a project that was to have spearheaded a "downtown renaissance" to pay off - as we hear in this report from WAMC's Dave Lucas.

A 22-million dollar makeover of the Stanley Center for the Arts was supposed to give new life not only to the 1928 theater, but to downtown Utica as well. That hasn't happened, with both the number of annual shows and yearly attendance falling below estimates given during 2005 fundraising efforts to restore the building. Stanley Manager John Faust blames the economy.

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties donated $400,000 to the expansion project. Foundation director of marketing and communications Anne White says the commitment was well worth it.

With talks for bringing in larger shows on hold, Stanley officials are considering wage freezes for employees and spending cutbacks while holding out hope that the theater will spark downtown redevelopment as the Palace theater has helped do in Albany. Utica Mayor spokesman Angelo Roefaro says the city will help any way it can. Mayor David Roefaro thinks officials have done a good job since the renovation. He's called the Stanley "a blessing" to have in the downtown area.