| Lots of people have had their say about whether it's right for the Menlo Park City Council to use taxpayer dollars to restore the Park Theatre. On Oct. 2, council members plan to make a firm decision on the matter.
Menlo Park resident Andy Duncan is asking the council to adopt one of two options to help him restore the 60-year-old former movie theater and turn it into a dance studio for the Menlo Park Academy of Dance.
Under one option, the city would loan Mr. Duncan $500,000 at a 5 percent interest rate so he can buy the building from current owner Howard Crittenden of Atherton, and convert it to a studio for the dance academy, co-owned by Mr. Duncan's mother and now housed a block away. Mr. Duncan would pay the city nothing for 25 years, and then pay off the loan and accumulated interest.
Under Mr. Duncan's second proposal, the city would buy the theater and land for $2.2 million, and lease it to him for 55 years. Mr. Duncan would pay the city $800,000 upfront, but would make no further payments to the city until year 26 of the lease. At that point, he would pay the city $70,000 a year until the lease expires.
Both proposals include plans to restore historic elements of the former theater, including the exterior, the neon sign, and the lobby. Mayor Kelly Fergusson has cited the restoration of the theater as reason enough to consider Mr. Duncan's requests for public funds, but other council members have yet to support the idea.
Without a clear indication from council members that they will approve public funds, Mr. Duncan said he will drop his plans because the $4.27 million price tag to buy the land and restore the building is too great.
MEETING: The council meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the council chambers at the Civic Center, between Laurel and Alma streets. For a news update on the Park Theatre decision, check www.AlmanacNews.com .
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