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Marlborough studying potential downtown sites for a performing arts center

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – In hopes of attracting more residents and visitors downtown, city officials are studying potential sites for a performing arts center, including the Walker Building and the former senior center.

City officials recently asked the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation to study the feasibility and cost of turning a downtown venue into a performing arts center. Mayor Arthur Vigeant said the study is just beginning and no decisions have been made.

“It’s really preliminary,” said Vigeant. “We haven’t done too much with it. We’re really just starting the process. All options are on the table. We are really just brainstorming at this point.”

Portions of the former Main Street senior center have been vacant since the Council on Aging moved into its new 22,000-square-foot facility on New Street in the spring. Only a handful of city departments, including Veterans Services and the Retirement Board, are in the Walker Building. The Community Development Authority recently moved its offices from the Walker Building to the former senior center.

Late last year, the council approved a new downtown rezoning proposal aimed at spurring redevelopment in the city center and bringing new uses downtown, such as hotels, brewpubs, bed and breakfasts, music recording studios and a performing arts center.

While conducting a survey during the rezoning process, residents expressed a desire to have a performing arts center on Main Street, said City Councilor Joseph Delano.

“The number one thing they wanted was a performing arts center,” said Delano.

Delano, a proponent of the idea, said he is pleased the city has begun studying potential sites. He said a performing arts center would make downtown Marlborough more vibrant and active and benefit other Main Street businesses.

“If they come for those performances hopefully they will go to our restaurants and other establishments downtown,” said Delano.

Delano cited The Center for the Arts in Natick as an example of a successful community performing arts center that showcases high quality musicians and actors.

“We’re trying to duplicate the success of (The Center for the Arts in Natick),” he said. “Culture is a great thing.”

Delano hopes the MEDC study will be completed in the next few months.

This article originally appeared here.