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State grant to help finance art league's community theater

By JORGE SANCHEZ, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2002

HERNANDO -- The Citrus County Art League will get a $35,031 state grant to help build its new community theater.

The money from the Department of State Cultural Facilities Program is part of a $13.3-million grant contained in the $50-billion state budget, which Gov. Jeb Bush approved Wednesday.

Citrus County Art League president Sharon Harris said she welcomes the money.

"Of course I'm happy with it," Harris said. "It will go in the building fund."

The art league broke ground last week on the new community theater next to its center at 2644 N Annapolis Ave.

Harris said the money was in doubt at one point. She received an e-mail from Secretary of State Katherine Harris' office, warning that Gov. Bush might veto the grant.

"I got my e-mail list working and a lot of people contacted the governor's office," Harris said. "I guess our appeals worked."

Meanwhile, preliminary work on the new theater is gaining momentum.

The art league's finance committee is reviewing five mortgage proposals from area lenders, Harris said. She expect a decision on the $500,000 mortgage by June 15.

The art league also must revive an environmental assessment permit granted four years ago by the water management district and get a county building permit.

Harris said she expects work on the 200-seat community theater to begin in late July.

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