Lexington follows Farris Theatre funding path for rehabilitating ‘The Lex’ auditorium

By David Knopf/Richmond News

The Farris Theatre and Lexington Auditorium are from different eras and look nothing alike architecturally.  And unlike the 100-plus-year-old, once-privately-owned Farris, Lexington’s Art Deco civic auditorium is a city property.

But similarities between the buildings might outweigh the differences.

Following a path successfully taken by Friends of the Farris Theatre, the not-for-profit Lexington Auditorium Association is using a state tax credit program to restore a building that for seven decades has been the cultural and civic heart of the community.

“The Friends of the Farris were very helpful to us as we planned the structure of our 501c3,” said Abigail Tempel, a member of the association. “(Friends of the Farris) President Rob Swafford and other members of the board have been very generous in that regard.”

Like the Friends, the Lexington Auditorium Association is using state Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits, as well as private donations, to finance the first of two renovation phases.

“We submitted a proposal to the state that they accepted and awarded us $350,000 and a 70-percent tax credit,” Tempel said.

NAP financing involves the state awarding tax credits – in this case 70 percent – to individuals and organizations that donate to the auditorium project. The incentive program involves no direct contribution from the state, but makes giving more attractive to members of the community.

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