Town Talk 02/18/20: Daeke Discusses Potential McGregor Hall Funding

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THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

Garry Daeke, Henderson City Council member, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Daeke briefly mentioned the upcoming Focus 20/20 Regional Economic Development Summit to be held at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center on Thursday, February 20, 2020, and discussed the success of another downtown entity, Sadie’s Coffee Corner.

“What a great venue, and a great community space where people can come together,” said Daeke. “Sadie’s is a great place for anyone and everyone to come together in downtown, relax and enjoy good food and drinks.”

In light of a recently completed economic development study quantifying McGregor Hall’s impact on the local economy, including increased traffic at downtown business and restaurants, McGregor Hall representatives requested City and County funding to assist with its remaining $2.9 million debt.

The results of the study, prepared by the Municipal Research Lab at NC State University, were sent to Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen and former City of Henderson Manager Frank Frazier. While McGregor Hall did not list a specific monetary amount in its funding request, it pointed out the following, as indicated in the study:

  • McGregor Hall is directly responsible for injecting $2.4 million into the Henderson economy during the 12 months preceding April 2019.
  • McGregor Hall is directly responsible for 5.5% of all economic growth in Vance County over the past three years.
  • McGregor Hall, with a 1,000 seating capacity, is the only performing arts center with over 750 seats in NC (not connected with an educational institution) that does not receive any kind of municipal or county funding.

With an annual budget of $491,839 as of 2018, McGregor Hall currently operates with one full-time employee and three part-time employees. The rest of the blanks are filled by numerous volunteers and donors, a feat that Daeke admitted will be hard to maintain in the long-run.

“I don’t think it can continue, in my opinion, with the level of quality they provide now with just so many volunteers,” Daeke said. “It’s very important that the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center continues to grow, thrive and be a pinnacle centerpiece for Vance County.”

Providing a history of the construction of McGregor Hall and other Breckenridge buildings, including the Henderson Police Department, Daeke stated that the City has already invested quite a bit of money into the project and suggested the County may be the place to turn to for additional funding.

“The City has a couple of million dollars in the facility already whereas the County was not involved in that funding,” explained Daeke. “The County benefits greatly from the sales tax [generated by McGregor Hall], the City to a lesser degree. For every $3 that’s generated by McGregor Hall, $2 goes to the County and $1 to the City.”

Daeke said the impact study has helped to shine a light on the extent of McGregor Hall’s economic reach and believes the County appreciates the results as well.

“A very fair and economical way of helping would be for the County to step up and provide some help; they get return from it. I do think the County sees its role in continuing to help McGregor Hall.”

To hear the interview with Daeke in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

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