News & Record reports the Greensboro City council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to vote on the first phase of funding for the proposed downtown performing arts center— a mere 17 hours before the scheduled groundbreaking:

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, just 17 hours before the scheduled event, the council will consider approving a “guaranteed maximum price,” or GMP, for excavation and utility work at the downtown site.

This so-called Phase 1 will cost roughly $10 million — about 13 percent of the center’s $78.1 projected cost.

Without a GMP, there’s no contract between the city and contractors.

And that means Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony would be symbolic only. With most projects, construction begins immediately after the ceremony where local dignitaries stick shovels into the ground and turn over some dirt.

While —as far as I can tell–it’s not hard to confuse council member Sharon Hightower, she said she’s about as “clear as mud” on exactly what the council will be voting on. As the N&R puts it, “Tanger Center have spent the last few days scrambling to line up votes — and even explain to council members what they’ll be voting on”—funny that was the same complaint one High Point City Council member had before the vote authorizing $15 million to get its downtown baseball stadium underway.

One Gboro council member–Justin Outling–said he will be out of the country on Tuesday and will try to participate in pre-vote discussion and debate via telephone, but he’s not sure if that will happen. The N&R reported last month on the disconnect between performing arts center boosters and the city, which n turn casts doubt in the mind of the citizens who are paying for it. This hastily scheduled vote does nothing to ease their minds.