WAKE FOREST — Officials expect the town’s cultural center to open for business after a kick-off weekend in mid-November.
Ruben Wall, the town’s parks and recreation director, said he wants to be sure all renovations are complete before committing to an opening date.
The center’s opening weekend on Nov. 14-16 will include a gala, theater night and concert.
The downtown Renaissance Centre will be available to rent for conferences, parties, concerts and other events. Staff members are hashing out the final details of how events will be booked and how much it will cost to rent the center.
Mayor Vivian Jones said at the town’s mid-year retreat last week that she envisions the center as a place for everything from classes to theater productions and dinners to conventions.
Jones said it’s important to take a broad view of what the center can be used for, so that it’s rented as much as possible.
“I’m looking for a mix,” she said. “I think if we just say it’s going to be a performing arts center that we’re not going to be using it all the time. Or if we’re just going to have it for community events like weddings and meetings and dinners, we’re not going to be using it all the time.”
The Board of Commissioners purchased two downtown properties earlier this year - Tuxedo Junction and Rejoice Community School - that will compose the center.
Pamela Stevens, the center’s newly hired manager, said she anticipates some of the center’s events, such as weekday events or classes, will drive business to downtown shops and restaurants.
“I think those kinds of things are going to have an economic impact,” she said.
Town officials still have to finalize how to handle alcohol sales at the center. This summer, the commissioners approved an exemption to the town’s ban on consumption of alcohol on public property, so alcohol can be served at the center.
Roe O’Donnell, the town’s deputy manager, said the town also must procure permits from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission to allow alcoholic beverage sales at the center, even if the town does not sell the drinks or run the event.
O’Donnell recommended the board apply for four permits that regulate different types of alcohol and contract with a third-party to furnish, serve and sell alcoholic beverages.
Board members said they were inclined to support the recommendation and will vote on it at their Sept. 17 meeting.