Lack of Use Could Mean Curtain Call for MPAC's Budget

It has location, architecture and history. But the crown jewel of McKinney’s downtown square lacks people.

The McKinney Performing Arts Center is open nine hours daily, has a full staff and sees brisk foot traffic outside, but is struggling to remain worth of budget consideration.

“We're really just looking for efficiency," Mayor Brian Loughmiller said. "We're in a budget cycle right now."

The center, which is housed in what was once Collin County's courthouse, currently has a half-million dollar budget.

The city is hosting its third public meeting to discuss ways to improve the center, generate revenue and market the historic building.

“It's a great facility," City Manager Frank Ragan said. "It has its own sort of unique decor; it has its limitations.

The facility does well with rentals, but the theater rarely fills its ticketed events. The theater only seats 400, and its small size makes it difficult to attract major acts. 

Ragan said the theater just needs to find its voice.

"There are some shows like comedies and others that are great niches for that particular facility,” he said. “Maybe we need to do more of that kind of venue. Maybe it becomes known for its comedy.”

In the meantime, there’s talk of expanding the art gallery located in the building's basement and sprucing up suites to attract business meetings.

City leaders say the MPAC is certainly not in danger of being closed. Its budgeted for this year, but the city is taking a hard look at next year's budget, which could include cuts in staffing, hours of operation and its annual subsidy.

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