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Photo courtesy: Straz Center for the Performing Arts

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House, Senate still apart on money for Straz Center for the Performing Arts

The Senate has on offer $1M, while the House is only conceding $250K.

The House and Senate are still in disagreement over a local funding ask for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

The latest committee chair budget offer from the Senate includes $1 million while the House offer includes just $250,000.

Both offers are far less than the Straz Center had been hoping for.

The downtown Tampa performing arts center requested $4 million as a complement to a $4.6 million match from private and local contributions.

The nonprofit is planning a $70 million major renovation.

The proposed funding would help cover project design and engineering for architectural design, planning and engineering and construction for renovations, new community space and other additions to the entire Straz campus.

The proposed project would add three floors to the facility, new dance studios, classrooms, expanded student theater, family spaces, restrooms and faculty and administrative offices.

It would also add a multipurpose pavilion, a north campus welcome center, an optional police substation, two loading bays and traffic calming.

The project would also add new docks along the Tampa Riverwalk behind the facility, among other additions.

The Straz Center, in its appropriations request, says it serves 600,000 residents and visitors annually.

The project, the nonprofit said, would increase student enrollment and event attendance and attract more MainStage and Broadway productions as well as expand community engagement and place-making.

The appropriations request also said the project would increase jobs, tourism and local economic impact.

Budget officials expect negotiations to continue through the weekend with deals settled possibly Saturday, but more likely Sunday.

The budget, once brokered, has a three-day cooling-off period before being finalized ahead of the final hankie drop.

If budget negotiations wrap up on Sunday that would mean a final vote on the budget would not come until Wednesday as lawmakers are not meeting Tuesday because of Florida’s presidential preference primary.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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