Black Hills Playhouse (Audio)
By Jenifer Jones
The fight over the Black Hills Playhouse and its efforts to keep its lease continues in Pierre. The House State Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 102 allowing the issue to move to the House floor for further debate.
The bill extends the lease to allow the Playhouse to stay in Custer state Park until September 30, 2019 if significant repairs are made within just over two years. Proponents say they are confident the Playhouse can raise the funds needed for repairs. But they say in order to do so, they need to be able to ensure their donors that the lease is renewed. Michael Burgraff is the Executive Director of the Black Hills Playhouse.
"We're not here today asking for money," Burgraff says. "We are asking for an opportunity to go out to our patrons and raise the funds necessary to keep a 64 year old tradition in the Black Hills."
Opponents of the measure say history has shown a lack of maintenance on the Playhouse, and passing the bill won't rectify safety concerns. The committee amended the bill to say that the Playhouse must spend at least five percent of its annual operating budget each year for maintenance and repair of buildings.
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