The City of Burlington moved one step closer to exploring a multi-use Performing Arts Center on Dec. 3 when a divided Common Council awarded a $10,000 grant for an economic feasibility study.

The grant covers 50 percent of the feasibility study with the Burlington Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. required to raise the rest through the city’s matching grant program and private donations.

The Burlington Performing Arts Foundation, Inc., which had 90 days to come forward with the additional funds, initially announced the plans in December 2018.

While the Common Council approved the grant, 5-3, proponents said it could accomplish a dream.

District 2 Alderman Bob Grandi said he supports the feasibility study because it could bring considerable benefit to the city if the PAC is realized.

Grandi, noting previous discussions on the matter, recalled someone stating the City of Burlington should dream big.

Jon Schultz II, of the third district, agreed with Grandi and said the opportunity allows the city to enhance the area.

“For me, this is a chance to be part of something that would transform Burlington,” he said.

The transformation targets properties along the Fox River, including the former Western Racine County Service on Main Street as well as the Malt House Theatre, Roger’s Auto and Centaur Forge.

The Burlington Performing Arts Foundation, Inc., spent several months in 2019 touring other similar facilities to develop a clearer vision for the project.

Dr. Thomas Niccolai, who is spearheading the project at the behest of Mayor Jeannie Hefty, told city officials the multi-venue complex could cost about $12 million.

Hefty, who is involved in the matter personally and not as a city official, said on Dec. 3 she believed in the project.

“As you know, this is my vision for Burlington and I wanted to have somebody that is really involved with the arts and that is how I approached Dr. Niccolai,” she said. “He is a huge supporter of the arts.”