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This is an artist rendering of what the Tivoli and Tivoli Center could be like in the future. The proposal is to make it a performance center for the city with office space for arts organizations and additional bathrooms, concessions areas, and better ADA access connected to the Tivoli Theatre. / Photo contributed by the Tivoli Foundation

Patrons to the inaugural Tivoli Gala, this year featuring Alison Krauss, saw plans before Friday night's performance for what the theater and the adjoining Tivoli Center might eventually look like.

The plans include updating the theater itself and expanding into the Tivoli Center. Plans for that building include adding office spaces for other arts organizations, more bathrooms, an elevator, better access for people with disabilities, more concession areas and a rooftop area for events.

"We see this as a mecca for all the performing arts in the city," said Tivoli Foundation executive director Nick Wilkinson.

He said exactly how the space will be used will depend on the tenants who use the space not occupied by the Tivoli Foundation. The foundation is charged with overseeing the Tivoli, as well as Memorial Auditorium and the Walker Theatre located on its second floor.

The Tivoli, opened in 1921, has been home to everything from movies and vaudeville shows to live music, and Wilkinson said these plans set it up for the next 100 years.

At the gala before the show, preliminary sketches of plans were on display. Those plans could include purchasing the Tivoli Center or continuing to sign on for a long-term lease. The Tivoli Center now is owned by 60 West, an investment group in Dextor, Missouri.

"Since we were founded in 2015, the Tivoli Theatre Foundation has made over $4.5 million worth of investments in the Tivoli Theatre and our other venues that have improved the appearance and added more customer-focused amenities," Wilkinson said.

"Over the coming weeks and months, the foundation looks forward to sharing our vision for this cultural center of Chattanooga and we are committed to fully restoring the Tivoli and improvements that support the theatre and Chattanooga into the next 100 years."

To learn more about how you can support efforts to restore the Tivoli and become a Friend of the Tivoli, visit tivolichattanooga.com/friends.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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