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About half that money is committed so far, and her office is busy seeking funding for the rest of it, she said. The office has already applied for additional grants, plus HUD would help pay to renovate and outfit the building, Reyes said.

According to the plan, Allegro would teach regular, tuition paid Nike Air Max Thea Metallic Pewter

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Renovating the old Stegman Building at 11th and East Washington Street and turning it into the Brownsville Performing Arts Academy would have a transformative effect on downtown and its economically disadvantaged residents.

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Nike Air Max Thea Se Metallic Red Bronze

could lead to renovation of the old Capital Theater on East Levee Street, if the academy outgrows the Stegman.

Although the city would have to reapply each year for CDBG funds to support the academy, HUD is big on the idea of El Sistema setting up shop in the Buena Vista neighborhood, she said.

"When we proposed this to HUD, they said this was probably one of the best examples of the city of Brownsville using the funds the way that they're supposed to be used," Reyes said. "They're pleased."

Ramirez said Venezuela boasts some 300 youth symphony orchestras thanks to El Sistema, which has hundreds of schools around the world roughly 100 Nike Air Max Thea Se Metallic Red Bronze in the United States alone.

"From what I understood, they needed to find an application for the building right away or else lose that money," Ramirez said. "The point was that they needed a proposal right away."

So says George Ramirez, president of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts and founder of the city's Latin Jazz Festival.

"They posed a question," he said. "'What would the Society for the Performing Arts do if they had an opportunity to use the Stegman Building?' I said, 'Is this a trick question?'"

The project is currently in the environmental review phase, with work on the building expected to start this June or July, she said. Reyes said the Stegman project Nike Thea Pink And Grey

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About a year and half ago, Ramirez said, the city approached him with a proposition.

Ramirez noted that the project is designed to be accomplished in phases, thus it's likely you'll see kids at the Stegman before the project is completely built out. Steve Tillotson, of Kell Munoz Architects in San Antonio, is the designer and project manager.

What resulted was a proposal for an academy offering tutoring in classical music and dance at no cost, or nominal cost, to low and moderate income children, especially targeting the surrounding Buena Vista neighborhood.

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Nike Air Max Thea Se Metallic Red Bronze

The city of Brownsville bought the Stegman in 2006 with federal Community Development Block Grant funds. The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers CDBG funds through its Office of Community Planning and Development.

HUD would require a match for its funding, though it's likely the agency would count the instructors' salaries teaching low income kids toward the match, she said.

He described Tillotson, who worked with the city for three years on the Imagine Brownsville redevelopment plan, as a "brilliant urban designer."

classes at the Stegman Building, and also provide instruction to disadvantaged kids. Allegro's instructors, like those from UTB, would be compensated for their services.

Part of the purpose of CDBG funds is to benefit low to moderate income residents, or prevent or eliminate slums or blight, though there were delays in implementing anything along those lines with the Stegman, which was completed in 1912, Ramirez said.

"What we proposed doing was to offer the educational components that are not typically available from the BISD system or even from the private schools here in Brownsville, which is classical music and dance training," he said.

´╗┐backed plan envisions performing arts hub for local kids

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"We're going to see this through," Reyes said. "We're going to find funding from as many different sources if we have to."

"I approached them, and they were very, very interested to participate," Ramirez said. "It's really the fusion of the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts with the UTB music department."

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Although BISD does have a comprehensive music and art program, there's not much emphasis on classical music, Ramirez said.

Still, HUD was impatient for something to be done with the building that had been purchased with taxpayer funds, which is why the city approached the BSPA about a project that would meet HUD requirements for community development, he said.

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THE BROWNSVILLE HERALD Posted 5 months ago

For the classical dance component, Ramirez said he approached Maria T. Sanchez, director of Allegro Ballet School. Although good ballet instruction exists in Brownsville, it's generally not accessible to poor families, he said.

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Music Academy of the Department of Music at the University of Texas at Brownsville does offer extensive classical music training, he said. The plan calls for the UTB academy to take up residence in the Stegman, tutoring disadvantaged kids in addition to UTB's regular, tuition paid music students.

Specifically, the plan calls for establishing "El Sistema," a very successful system of music instruction, founded in Venezuela in 1975, for impoverished kids ages 3 10.

Stephanie Reyes, director of the city's Office of Grant Management, said outfitting the building sufficiently to implement the full El Sistema program would probably cost about $4.5 million.

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"I asked if she would provide free ballet classes to low to moderate income children in downtown Brownsville," Ramirez said. "She thought I was pulling her leg."

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