This week’s been a big one for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), and it’s not even over yet. On December 18, SPAC announced that it had been awarded $1,695,000 in funding by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative. Governor Andrew Cuomo named SPAC as one of the recipients at the 2018 REDC Awards, also on the 18th. In 2011, Governor Cuomo created the REDC initiative to develop longterm strategies for economic growth in ten regions across New York State. The initiative granted $763 million in funds this year to a number of New York cities, towns, foundations, nonprofits and arts centers.
“SPAC is a beloved and vital cultural organization, a major regional economic driver and a center of gravity for cultural tourism in Upstate New York,” Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO, tells saratoga living. The funds awarded to SPAC have been allocated to two different projects. First, $195,000 is being spent on a multimedia marketing campaign designed to increase tourism not just to SPAC, but to the Capital Region as a whole. To make this tourism push a reality, SPAC has already partnered with other cultural heavyweights in the area including Skidmore College, Opera Saratoga, Caffè Lena and the National Museum of Dance, in addition to the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Saratoga. “SPAC’s vision for the future includes a much larger footprint in the region, including expanding the wide array of arts, culture and education programs and opportunities that it currently provides,” says Sobol.
The rest of the funds, or $1.5 million, will go toward the demolition of SPAC’s 52-year-old concessions area and the construction of an entirely new facility. The future concessions plaza will include upgraded restrooms, as well as new programming and educational spaces. It will also have a more aesthetically pleasing look, designed to blend in with SPAC’s ample green space and trees. “A special thank you [goes] to the SPAC Board of Directors, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the LA Group for their vision and help in reimagining SPAC and its place in our beautiful natural park setting,” Sobol tells saratoga living.
The new concessions plaza is slated to begin construction by fall 2019. That build will come on the heels of the completion of another major infrastructure project, the upgrading of SPAC’s ramps and lighting, part of an additional $1.75 million allocation from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. That project is expected to be completed by spring, in time for SPAC’s 2019 summer season.