Park Theatre was again discussed by McMinnville officials at their latest meeting. Who will operate the facility is still undetermined.
Alderman Jimmy Haley questioned city attorney Tim Pirtle on where that process stands.
“Has anything been done to work out the verbiage in the management agreement with Park Theatre Group?” asked Haley. “Steve Phillips said last week he was trying to arrange acts to perform at Park Theatre, but he couldn’t do it without an agreement.”
Pirtle says he sat down with Park Theatre Group member David Marttala for more than an hour and informed him the city could not enter into a management agreement with Park Theatre Group and the reasons behind that decision. Any such agreement, Pirtle says, is subject to the bidding process.
Pirtle and Marttala had a prior meeting with the legal counsel for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. The state comptroller is charged with monitoring, auditing, and approving fiscal management, including debt management, for municipalities in Tennessee.
Booking acts for a facility that has yet to be renovated is a bit premature, says Pirtle.
“As far as Steve Phillips booking acts or whatever, he is putting his socks on over his boots,” Pirtle said. “We are a long way from that process. We do not have a theater yet. Booking acts for one is premature.”
While booking acts will have to wait, officials can work out a rental fee structure for local events. Pirtle says that aspect should not wait until the facility is complete.
“There are a lot of things that need to be considered,” he said. “You don’t want to wait until renovation is complete to start working those aspects out. One aspect would be rental fees.”
Rental fees would be for individuals, schools, groups, churches, businesses, etc., that might want to use the facility.
“There is a definite need for a public-use discussion,” said Pirtle. “When can they use it? What will the cost be? If taxpayers fund renovation, I think there will be a reasonable expectation they will be allowed to use the facility at a reasonable cost.”
Cookeville has a facility like Park Theatre. It was built by the city and is operated by the city. Rental is based use, with schools and nonprofit organizations paying less than businesses.