Letter: Performing arts center needed
For over 30 years, a performing arts center or at least a theater has been on the list of projects that are wanted by the citizens and one that will be built in “the future.” A few times, sales tax and bond issues have passed on the explicit or implicit promise of a theater.
However, this time is different. Although there are potentially many good infrastructure projects listed for 2H and 2I, this list still leaves out a major promise from the 1998 renewal of this Acquisitions and Improvements Tax, the performing arts center.
The previous sales tax authorization had a series of “marquee” project which were identified, and constructed, including the City Hall, the Municipal Operations Center, the improvements to the water collection system and the Community Center. However, as the money ran low at the end, the theater was deferred, first so that a gym could be built, and then so that a swimming pool could be built. The performing arts center was constantly pushed to the back of the line as more and more studies were done, but with no real funding source in place, there was no urgency to make compromises in order to identify a project that could be built for a reasonable cost.
My biggest regret from my eight years on City Council is that we were never able to complete the promises of the 1998 election. We have a very nice community center, gym, swimming pool and ice rink, but have broken faith with the performing arts community. We have many locally based performing arts organizations, the Community Concert Association, the Defiance Community Players, the Symphony in the Valley, to name just a few. However, it is increasingly difficult to schedule usage of the high school for these productions.
For this reason, I urge rejection of this sales tax and bond issue. This is a 30-year reauthorization, with an expectation of generating $120 million to $140 million. While there is a list of projects that “might be built” there is no “marquee” project this time. Let’s go back, reprioritize and fulfill past promises.
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