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Country swing dance emporium coming to Smithfield? Stay tuned

November 17th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Katie Swain

SMITHFIELD – One man’s dream of a first-class country swing dance center in Smithfield is one step closer to reality.

Alan Peterson of Hyde Park said he has been searching for a location for his dance center, and has finally found an ideal 16,000-square foot building in Smithfield that just became available.  He presented his idea Thursday to the Smithfield Planning Commission.

“I really mean it when I say this place is going to be first-class,” Peterson said. “I have connections with well-known, established entertainers that would perform here. It’s not quite Toby Keith yet, but in that direction.”

Peterson estimated the venue’s occupancy would be 1,100 to 1,200 people during peak times.

“The first concern I see here is the issue of parking,” chairman David Price said. “If you’re expecting upwards of 1,000 people showing up, that’s easily 500 cars you’re going to have to find parking spots for.”

Price said besides the parking issue there were a number of additional concerns such as curfew hours and noise control that would need to be worked out.

“Having too many cars and too much business is really a great problem to have,” Commissioner Pete Krusi said.

“I would love that challenge,” Peterson said.

He also plans on running the building as an event center during the day with an emphasis in serving the community.

“I want music events for the elderly during the day,” Peterson said. “I also want events for handicapped people; music is such an incredible sense for them. There has also been some interest in using the space for clogging lessons during the day. The building is well suited for all of these things.”

Price said the commission would definitely entertain Peterson’s idea as long as he could see a specific plan worked out.

“You need to come to us with a completed application and a very detailed plan,” Price said. “We need to see that you’ve thought about potential issues and have plans for them. And we’ll help you work out the other details to make sure everything’s in accordance with our regulations.”

Peterson said he was very eager to get things started. “Time is of the essence here,” he  said. “And the most important thing for me right now is to feel support from the planning commission.”


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