Lakeway Visitors Commission gives OK for performing arts center study

Second contract to study resources, programming needed

The Lakeway Visitors Commission recommended a $58,600 contract Nov. 10 with consultant Janis Barlow and Associates for a study to determine the resources needed to bring a performing arts center to the city as well as the type of architecture and programming that would best serve the facility.

The agreement is the second part of a campaign that began in September 2013 to determine the feasibility of either a performing arts or convention center to be located in Lakeway. A $38,500 feasibility study was conducted by Barlow's consulting group in 2014.

The preliminary results of the earlier study showed, given the demographics of the area and the lack of similar high-tech facilities in the region, the project could be successful, LVC Commissioner Gary Shoemaker said.

Personal interviews and surveys were conducted during Phase 1 of the study, which included the market and needs assessment, he said. Barlow determined there was a gap in Austin for high-tech theaters in the 500- to 1,400-seat range and that a rich pool of ticket buyers existed in the area, he said.

"[A performing arts center] would further brand Lakeway as a viable arts destination," said local artist Janet Sopp-Sims, who owns Redhound Fine Art studio at 110 El Reno Cove, Lakeway.

The report identified three factors as the reason for the proposal's feasibility—the education level of Lakeway residents is higher than the Texas average, the age of Lakeway residents is higher than the Texas average, and the income level of Lakeway residents is more than twice the average for the state, Shoemaker said.

Although a conference center was studied in the report, the findings showed the feasibility of this type of facility would be better if it was joined with a hotel, he said.

The results of the study's second phase, if funding is approved by Lakeway City Council, could be completed within six to eight months, Shoemaker said.

Lakeway's hotel occupancy tax proceeds will fund the study and project.

Branding campaign asks for infusion of funds

The Lakeway Visitors Commission agreed Nov. 10 to request $100,000 from Lakeway City Council for a contract with the Peters Group to fund a branding public relations campaign.

The Peters Group focuses on public relations and would implement Lakeway's new branding policy, Branding Committee Chairman Jim Reiners said.

The city recently unveiled its new logo, and the commission discussed changing out four new monument signs on RR 620 to reflect the new brand at a cost of about $50,000, Reiners said.

"Public relations is a more efficient use of dollars than advertising," he said. "The Peters Group is a boutique-type shop with experience."

Visitors Commission members resign

The Lakeway Visitors Commission accepted the resignation of Commissioner Katie Levy on Nov. 25.

Commissioner Bill Karotkin resigned from service on Dec. 2.

Recommendations for new commissioners will be made by Mayor Dave DeOme and have to be approved by Lakeway City Council.


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