We as a city have to do something soon. If not now, it may not be there next year," he added.
Other audience members also voiced their comments during the 30-minute discussion.
Mark Shanks, owner of Monical's Pizza, said that Shelbyville would benefit from the tax revenue brought into town by visitors to local events at the Chautauqua. He cited the increase in business throughout town during the Scarecrow Daze earlier this month
"Using the building would bring more people into town, resulting in more activity for businesses." Shanks said.
"We hope you don't think the city is going to back away completely from this," Johnson said. "Everything that's been done at the park has been a cooperative effort with the city and other organizations - the pool, the softball field, the Sunken Garden and the athletic building."
Gray noted that the business plan for the Chautauqua, which includes usage to raise funds to maintain the building, will be presented to the council in December.
"It can be money for the city if it is repaired, usable, and properly managed," Gray said.
Commissioner Gib Smart said he was not sure the people of Shelbyville want to save the building.
"You (Chautauqua committee) have had five years and have raised $150,000. I'm not sure the community supports what you're trying to do," Smart said.
"At some point the city council is going to have to decide whether you are going to invest any money in that building or not because it's awful hard to raise the kind of money that it's going to take to do the repairs," Gray said.
"I know you've got money available and I know you don't want to spend it because of what might happen here and there. But this is an important piece of property for the city. I think you need to make some kind of plans or commitment soon."