SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Performing Arts Center
By Lou Ann Richardson


February 12, 2009
Thursday PM

I am writing to thank Mr. Dial for his recent letter to the Sitnews Editor and for his overall support of Borough funding of the Performing Arts Center with CPV funding. I did, however, want to correct some misconceptions in his letter, and answer some of Mr. Dial's reservations concerning parking for the new center.

With all due respect, Mr. Dial's tone sounds defensive toward what he believes to be the "Arts Council", or maybe the city for the library issue, or maybe the borough for it's handling of the cruise ship tax fund, or maybe the performing arts center. Unfortunately, with respect to the performing arts center, he has either been misinformed or has made assumptions based on what he thinks he knows and understands about the "Arts Council".

As a First City Players (FCP), board member, let me clarify that the performing arts center to which he refers, is not a project of the Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council. It has nothing to do with the KAAHC. First City Players is leading this project, in conjunction with Ketchikan Theatre Ballet. The assumption that FCP and KAAHC organizations are one in the same is a common assumption/mistake often made, but we are separate organizations with different budgets, missions, and board of directors.

The first misstatement by Mr. Dial: Mr. Dial's assertion 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", is a casualty of the assumption that the Arts Council and FCP are one entity. At no time, did First City Players ever take a position on consolidation. We are proud of a volunteer, audience and membership base that comprises the full spectrum of political opinion in Ketchikan, and so out of respect for all the people we serve, we avoid taking "sides" in matters of public politics, (that includes the library).

As for the parking issue, Mr. Dial believes that FCP's need for the parking area across from the police station will put "the Arts Council, (actually FCP), in the uncomfortable position of being forced to take a stand on the new library issue. Dial states "Even if you assume that parking for this new facility is adequate, it is only so because of the parking lot across the street." In discussing parking for the new PAC, it is important to remember that by purchasing the Fireside, FCP is also purchasing the building s total allocation of 108 parking spaces from two Local Improvement District or LIDs: the Berth 2 LID, and that of Barney Way.

Mr. Dial continues: "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)."

Mr. Dial is absolutely correct that the cruise ships sail at night, but it is also true that cruise ship passengers don't drive cars. Our LID is more than adequate for serving the staff of even the most ambitious of daytime programming for cruise ship passengers. Taken in context, we have only argued that parking demand for the art center will primarily be for our evening programming. This was the statement contained in our proposal to the Borough: The parking resources within 200 feet of the Fireside total 230 spaces, not counting the proposed parking garage, the Main School site, the Methodist Church lot, and on-street parking. Even 15% of our LIDs 108 spaces are more than adequate to serve staff and our non driving daytime audiences. The 230 spaces within 200 feet are more than adequate to serve our driving off-peak audiences.

To make it clear, the activities that the center would be providing would occur in two ways:

First, during the day to cruise ship passengers and other walk-ins with little to no parking demand (during business hours and thereby meeting the dedication of cruise ship tax money); and second in the evenings, during "off-peak", after business hours when parking is a non-issue.

On behalf of the entire board of First City Players, I would welcome Mr. Dial, as well as anyone of the community to join us for our annual meeting at the end of February where we will be discussing the Performing Arts Center with our membership and giving tours of the Fireside building. Details will be appearing soon on our website at If that is not possible, we welcome any and all visitors to our FCP office located on the top floor of the Plaza mall to look at the proposed floor design of the Fireside remodel, or to call the office anytime at 225-4792 for more information on what we do and our hopes plans for a Performing Arts Center for Ketchikan.

Lou Ann Richardson
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Longtime First City Players member and Board member. 25 year resident."

Received February 10, 2009 - Published February 12, 2009


Related Viewpoint:

letterPerforming Arts Center By Rodney Dial

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