Riley Center project needs more money
May 4, 2003
Reports that the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center project had all the money it needed to get the job done appear to have been exaggerated, as the scope of the project has expanded. Mississippi State University president Charles Lee asked Lauderdale County supervisors this week for another $2 million, apparently to help acquire the old Newberry's department store building as part of the project.
One supervisor, District 5's Ray Boswell, predicted loading up what is already a $3 million bond issue with another $2 million may be a tough sell in a down economy. It likely will be a tough pill for supervisors, and many taxpayers, to swallow.
We continue to believe that the benefits of a revived Grand Opera House and Riley Center including the dominant role they can play in resurrecting downtown and producing new educational opportunities outweigh the costs as projected.
Of course, there is a limit to what public bodies can contribute to this or any other cause. No one yet knows exactly what the financial limit is, but there is a real sense that we're getting close.