Performing Arts Center
By Rodney Dial
February 05, 2009
Congratulation to Lallette Kistler and the Arts Council regarding
their efforts to secure a borough endorsement of $500,000 Cruise
Ship funds for a performing arts center.
I must confess that I take a certain amount of satisfaction from
the knowledge that these funds, should the borough give them
to the Council, are only and exclusively available because this
community voted NOT TO CONSOLIDATE two years ago. It is extremely
ironic that the Arts Council and most of its members, who were
extremely PRO-consolidation, may have a new building only because
we did not consolidate. You may get your funds without costing
local taxpayers a dime. I would ask that you remember this the
next time some fool tries to resurrect consolidation for the
As the Arts Council moves forward with their goal of turning
the Fireside building into a performing arts center you are going
to find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being forced
to take a stand on the new library issue.
Mrs. Kistler s letter states that there is abundant parking near
the location where they intend to build the new performing arts
center. As a nearby property owner I would argue that parking
for a performing arts center in this location is marginal at
best and poor during the summer months. Even if you assume that
parking for this new facility is adequate, it is only so because
of the parking lot across the street. Yes, the same parking
lot that library supporters intend to turn into the new library.
Building the Library in this location will displace several
dozen parking spaces (where will they go?).
I am sure that the Arts Council would like to support both projects,
but the reality is that Borough Law will not allow either to
be built without the required number of parking spaces. Depending
on how you design the center, several dozen NEW spaces may be
My guess is that the Council has considered this dilemma and
hopes to downplay concerns, expecting government to solve this
problem after both structures have been built by constructing
a multi-million dollar parking garage at taxpayer expense.
I would suggest that you not try to argue for a parking exemption
claiming that the center will be used primarily during non business
hours. To do so opens the borough s dedication of these funds
to a legal challenge that they are not an appropriate use of
the Cruise Ship Tax funds. As you know these funds must have
a nexus to the cruise ship passenger who is in town primarily
during business hours (they sail at night).
You also need to keep in mind the many business owners and their
employees who work in the area, need parking and can not be displaced.
This presents new problems for our planning director as she
attempts to bring in new business, and building owners attempting
to rent vacant office space.
Bottom line: If you want to make the performing arts center
a reality you need to oppose any attempt to build the library
in the parking lot across the street. Only then can you make
a semi-reasonable argument that there is adequate parking, and
work for an exemption. Your only other option is to solve the
parking problem first, which you do not have the funds to fix,
and for which the public likely will have no interest in paying
I also find myself wondering if local government is concerned
at all, about all the prime property being removed from the tax
roles in town. How much revenue does the Salmon Landing area
generate in taxes, and how much could the lot across from the
Federal building generate if it were kept in private hands and
In any case, I wish the Arts Council the best in their efforts
to build their facility without local taxpayer funds.
And yes, you are welcome for our efforts in stopping consolidation.
Received February 05, 2009
- Published February 05, 2009
Arts Center By Lallette Kistler
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