Calling all performing groups -- Menlo Park has officially launched its new grant program, and the Dec. 1 deadline is right around the corner.
In an effort to boost the city's use of the Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, five community groups will be awarded $500 to $1,000 to subsidize rental of the theater.
The city chipped in $2.6 million to build the center, sharing the cost with Menlo-Atherton High School. In exchange Menlo Park is supposed to get 55 days of rent-free use during the school year, and unlimited access during school vacations.
But as the Almanac reported in June, it hasn't worked out that way. So far the city use averages between 11 and 36 days each year since the theater opened in 2009.
Scheduling presents one obstacle, as school events take priority over community use. Another factor is cost; community groups failed to flock to the theater because of the rental expense.
That's where the new grant program comes in. No applications will be accepted after Dec. 1, according to a press release. The grants expire after one year; organizations are welcome to reapply during the next cycle.
Contact the Community Services Department at 330-2223 for more information about the grants.