By SARA ARTHURS
Fifth Third Bank on Friday donated $250,000 to the Hancock County Performing Arts Center, the governing board of the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.
Bob LaClair, president of Fifth Third Bank in northwestern Ohio, presented a check to the board at a press conference held at the former site of Central Middle School in downtown Findlay.
The $10 million arts center project will be built on the site, and will incorporate the former Central Auditorium.
LaClair said Findlay has been a great community for Fifth Third Bank and the performing arts center is “a project that had to happen.”
“This is just a great project that will add to the quality of life” in the community, he said.
The donation will fund a “wall of fame” in which a Hancock County native specializing in the arts will be honored each year.
Edward Reading, chairman of the performing arts center board, said the gift is meaningful.
“It goes without saying we live in a wonderful community,” he said.
Site preparation work for the arts center began this week, including removal of the stage house on the north side of the auditorium, and other projects to prepare the structure for renovation and expansion.
Reading said the site work, including removal of the stage house, was always part of the plan. The art deco-inspired facade on the auditorium will be preserved.
Reading said that while finances are in place for the site preparation work and the start of construction, financial support is still needed. A community campaign is expected to be launched in the near future.
Information about the project is available at the Hancock County Performing Arts Center website at http://www.findlayforthearts.org. Visitors can join a mailing list to receive news about construction plans and campaign activities.
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