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Bastrop Group Wants To Use Hotel Tax Money For New Arts Center

Updated: Tuesday, August 19 2014, 10:36 PM CDT

A Bastrop arts group is rallying support to use $300,000 of hotel tax money to build a new arts center. But is that the best use for that money? At least one council member wants to see that question answered first.

Jeanette Condray's enthusiasm for building a new arts center at a former Bastrop cotton seed mill is contagious. "We want to not only bring a lot of tourism but to educate people in the arts," she says.

Condray and the Bastrop Fine Arts Guild hope to secure $300,000 from surplus Bastrop hotel tax revenues for the project.

"The city council and the mayor all believe that this is going to be something that will be a major economic force for Bastrop going into the future," says Donna Cunningham, president of the Bastrop Fine Arts Guild.

Bastrop council member Kay Garcia McAnaly loves the idea, too, but thinks the city should take steps to make sure everyone gets a fair shot.

"Firstly, that we have a request. Secondly, we decide what we're going to do with the money. And thirdly, that everyone gets a fair shot at it if we're going to allow it to be for grants," she says.

The arts guild has a different idea -- getting everyone in their tent.

"More and more of just your average everyday person who doesn't actually do art to be involved in the project so that we can bring more people in and have them realize what they can do," says Cunningham.

It's clear this new arts center is still a work in progress.

The Bastrop Fine Arts Guild plans to make its case next week in a presentation before the Bastrop City Council. We should also learn at that time how the council plans to award any surplus hotel tax revenue.

By Fred Cantu

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Bastrop Group Wants To Use Hotel Tax Money For New Arts Center

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