Mobile Ballet makes case for performing arts center

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Members of the Mobile Ballet spoke to the Mobile City Council, asking for them to make sure they have a home in the future.

This is all because of concerns about the future of the Mobile Civic Center. The Civic Center is 50 years old and in need of significant repair. The city says repairing the current facilities would cost $34 million, plus an additional $13 million over 10 years.

Last month, one of the two finalists to redevelop the site withdrew its name from the running, leaving Cordish Companies as the only candidate to redevelop the Civic Center.

A board member with the ballet addressed the council Tuesday, asking for the opportunity to continue to work with the council and Mayor’s office to find an appropriate solution.

“The Mobile Civic Center Theatre is the home of our productions each season because it is the only performance space in the greater Mobile area that is appropriate to accommodate the ballet productions. Unfortunately, there is no other venue in our city or county which can accommodate our custom stage sets, nor has adequate backstage area and dressing rooms for the large number of cast members and costumes in our productions,” said Becky Tate, a board member for the Mobile Ballet.

The Mobile Ballet has been part of the community for more than 30 years, and they say they impact more than 15,000 residents a year.

“We simply need to ensure that an adequate venue for all of the performing arts in Mobile will be in consideration in the redevelopment plans. The city’s ongoing collaboration with Mobile ballet and many other outstanding arts organizations in our city helps ensure the long-standing programs that help support so many,” said Tate.

Nothing has been finalized with the plans from Cordish, yet.

“I’m not going to support a plan that doesn’t have those continued public spaces. I believe there are certain amenities a city ought to have, a stadium, a civic center, and those are things I believe are bedrock to a progressive city, not only the ballet but many other cultural amenities utilize those facilities. I’m hopeful that what we finally settle on with Cordish and any other developer will include that amenity,” said Levon Manzie, the Vice President of the Mobile City Council.

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