Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester City Council is being asked to consider terminating the city’s longstanding agreement with Rochester Civic Theater.

City Administrator Steve Rymer submitted his recommendation to the council’s Outside Agency Oversight Committee Friday, three days after the committee was first briefed on RCT's problems. The recommendation is scheduled to be taken up at its Feb 12th meeting. The committee’s decision on the recommendation will go to the full council for consideration.

In his recommendation, Rymer notes the city has had an agreement with RCT since 1964 for exclusive use of the civic theater space.

The letter says the city has contributed more than $2,000,000 to RCT since 2009. The city gave RCT a $200,000 contribution last month. At Rymer’s request, $150,000 of the contribution was returned Friday.

Because of RCT’s serious financial problems and other issues, Rymer is recommending terminating the RCT lease in May to accommodate its current production schedule.

Rymer is recommending future use of the space be operated under “a collaborative performing arts model.” Among the goals under this model would be a "collaborative use to enhance community access and program diversity.” He also recommends the city maintain its current level of funding for building maintenance.

If the council accepts the recommendation, Rymer suggests holding a listening session to get input from local performing arts organizations.

News update:  A winter storm watch for southern Minnesota has been upgraded to a warning.

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