Letters to the Editor

Will a performing arts center survive? | Federal Way letters

Shortly after hearing about the proposed Toys “R” Us site, I was attending a 30th District Republicans meeting and suggested the city could help out the state budget by “giving back” the $5 million we were “given” for the performing arts center and help with the state budget.

I’m not against the arts, but I don’t think every taxpayer should “contribute” to a performing arts center. As I understand the role of government, it should provide for the public safety, justice, roads and water — those things that individually we can’t do for ourselves.

I recently attended a meeting at the Dumas Bay Centre, which I think is in a beautiful setting where the discussion was about how to market it (with a $70,000 grant). I recall when it was first purchased in about 1993, and the visions for it at that time. With remodeling and the help of the Knutzen family, Centerstage Theatre had a place to perform. It was the end to end all, but not for long. I’ve enjoyed attending some performances there.

Now I assume it’s not “the place” and we need bigger and better. Ironically, I have been reading in the Seattle Times of theaters in Seattle: Empty Space Theater folded first, and now Intiman Theatre has more than $1 million debt. So will the arts groups in Federal Way be able to afford it if these other groups are having problems?

Maybe some forethought should have been in mind when the old AMC Theatres was torn down. Could it have been remodeled as a “performing” theater? Here you see buildings in Europe that are hundreds of years old and still functioning. I’ve watched this project languish for sometime now. Having lived here for almost 50 years, I’m not one who relishes the “Symphony,” or whatever the high-rise project is called now, to come to fruition.

I go by the old Ken Jones swimming pool, a Forward Thrust project out of the 1970s and now “boarded up” for sometime. I wonder if, had it been built in a sensible configuration, it would still be useful today. The same Forward Thrust pool in Issaquah is still functioning. So we have the community center with pool, etc., that financially is not doing well, from what I read.

Recently I enjoyed a performance of the Federal Way Harmony Kings at St. Luke’s Church. I see that the Federal Way Symphony will be there this next month. Our church had a wonderful choir with a large audience last week. The Historical Society of Federal Way had a wonderful Veterans Day celebration at Todd Beamer High School with a full audience. I know these are not some grandiose places, but for those attending, it’s the performance that counts. Maybe organizers have to schedule several dates in order to accommodate the audiences. If “needed,” we can always go a few miles to Auburn or even Highline Community College for larger areas to perform.

I do appreciate and enjoy “culture.” Each of my children had piano and other music lessons, which they are still using in their church, and one even in a community orchestra.

As Matthew Jarvis mentioned in his Nov. 27 letter, let those who want to contribute their money to a performing arts center do so, and not tax those who can’t afford it or those who will never attend.

Lynda Jenkins, Federal Way

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