City council and residents hear how arts could boost Auburn economy

City council and residents hear how arts could boost Auburn economy

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AUBURN -- Imagine if Auburn was a hub for artists and creative professionals, and the city attracted thousands of tourists who spent millions of dollars every year.

Some members of the local arts community believe it can happen, and they are pointing to a small city in Kentucky as their evidence.

Schweinfurth Memorial Arts Center director Donna Lamb, former Merry Go Round Playhouse marketer Hilary Ford and Auburn Public Theater director Angela Daddabbo gave two presentations Thursday at the APT about how they believe establishing an arts district and encouraging artists to relocate to local residences could improve Auburn's economy.

Throughout the presentations, which took place during and after the weekly city council meeting, the three speakers examined Paducah, Ky., which revamped its downtown business district and neighborhoods through the arts.

The city, which has a similar population as Auburn with 27,000 people, boasts millions of dollars in annual tourism revenue thanks to a number of public and private art initiatives, Ford, Lamb and Daddabbo said. And they believe some of those can be successful here.

Ford, who was raised in Paducah, said the city is very similar to Auburn in a lot of ways.

"It's not any bigger. The demographics aren't different," she said during the presentation.

Read tomorrow's edition of The Citizen for a full report.

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