SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Performing Arts Center
By Lallette Kistler


February 03, 2009
Tuesday PM

I would like to thank the Borough Assembly for taking a giant step towards making a Performing Arts Center in Ketchikan a reality. They recently endorsed the contribution of $500,000 in cruise ship head tax funds to go towards the First City Players purchase of the old Fireside/Elks Club building.

The First City Players, which provides much needed diversion (11 productions a year) to the island-bound residents of this rock, have been homeless for about ten years now. After losing use of the Main Street Theater in the Redman Hall, they tried booking their season at the High School, but it soon became unbearably cost prohibitive with unbelievably restrictive time constraints.

They recently found a home at the Plaza, but that too is slipping out from under them. Last fall, the cast of the musical got 24 hours notice that they would not be able to rehearse at the mall after 8:00pm. Where can you find rehearsal space large enough to accommodate a cast of 40 singer/dancers on short notice?

Shows that are already scheduled on the calendar at the High School, with season tickets sold, are getting bumped by High School activities. You may say, Well, it's their High School, what's wrong with that? But that was not what the community was promised when the new auditorium was being built. The Borough put in extra funds to make sure the facility would be able to accommodate the needs of the ENTIRE community, not just the High School.

We NEED this new Performing Arts Center. It will be able to accommodate First City Players, Ketchikan Theater Ballet, Ketchikan Community Chorus & Orchestra, Ketchikan Community Concert Band, Music Recitals, Convention Meeting Space, Cruise Ship Entertainment, and even School activities! The possibilities are endless.

The Fireside/Elks building is a perfect spot. Typical evening performances will have plenty of parking, and the convenience of restaurants, and other night-time entertainment within walking distance. Gosh, won't it be fun to have a real night out on the town downtown again!!

For those who don't participate in sports; music, theater and dance are very important recreational activities. Unlike the Rec. Center, YOU WILL NOT BE TAXED for this facility. The seed money is coming from the Cruise Ship head tax. User fees, including ticket prices & rent from other entities (KTB pays $60,000/year now), and donations will pay for the maintenance.

The price for the building has already been negotiated and it's a STEAL!! With the $500,000 the Borough has initially okayed and FCP money already in the bank, the purchase price is covered. Rasmussen, other grants, and private donations (Jack Shay has already thrown down the gauntlet with a $25,000 pledge!!) will be able to cover the cost of remodel. It's already stripped down to a shell, so there are no secrets (NO asbestos!) and no demolition delays.

But it's not over. It order to get the $500,000 to pay for the building, it has to pass two public reviews later this year. I've heard there has been some negative talk about the initial decision, so please don't let this valuable community project get railroaded. For your kids, your grandkids, your quality of life, and the future of Ketchikan, talk to your Assembly members and your neighbors.

If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, please stop by the First City Players office on the second floor of the mall. Thank you, in advance, for your help and support. This is an exciting time in Ketchikan!

Lallette Kistler
Ketchikan, AK

About: "First City Players member, advertiser, and donor & past board member, director and conductor; Ketchikan Community Chorus and Orchestra member & past board member and director; Ketchikan Community Concert Band member; Arts Council member & donor; Voice & Piano Teacher; Insurance and Financial Sales & Service; Drywall Contractor; Landlord "

Received February 02, 2009 - Published February 03, 2009



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