Friday, October 15, 2010

Morning Midway: Another Victory for Venice? Old Ringling-Barnum Arena Still on Life Support ...

Venice City Council given a "list" six months ago by Venice Circus Arts Foundation promising things it would do if city would not tear town the 5,100 seat arena where Ringling once rehearsed and opened their new shows after switching from tents to hard tops.

So now? "We've done everything on that list," asserts Karen Dove of her consulting firm.

Circus Foundation, the brainchild and passion of trapeze great Tito Gaona, now seeking a "formal letter" from the council allowing its drive to save the arena to continue over the next three to five years.

Last month, city council showed twelfth hour sympathy by nixing $250,000 for a then-planned demotion of the old Art Concello designed building from its budget, thus holding back wrecking crews for a season or two of hope.

Circus Arts foundation has since crafted a three-year operating budget, first year's outlay of $86,000 to pay for cost of repairing the roof's "gaping holes."

According to a report by Terry O'Connor in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, even if the council gives a green light to foundation goals, two major challenges remain:

$10 million needed to renovate the arena, after which, per federal law, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus museum that Gaona hopes to create "must be a revenue producer for the airport fund" because it occupies airport property.

They've got some heavy lifting ahead if they intend to get their pie-in-the-sky project off the runway and into the air. Gaona make take his biggest tumble yet into the net.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please, please, please, let reason reign. Ten million to save an old building? Is it not better to help the homeless? Both human and animal? Dennis Y