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PACC survey put cart before the horse | Letter
The Mirror’s community survey on the Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) that appeared in your April 4 issue was “the cart before the horse.”
You asked people to answer questions about usage, cost and a different project. The public doesn’t have sufficient information to answer these questions. As for “how often do you see yourself using the facility,” there’s no roster yet of activities that will be there.
So how can anyone decide when they would be attending unknown events? Your survey asked if $32 million is too expensive. The Blue Ribbon Panel on the PACC will be delivering their report on May 8. That report will have an analysis of the pro forma, evaluation of funding for the project and the economic development benefit to the city. Until this information is made public, there’s no way an informed answer can be given to your cost question.
The survey asked if there was a different project the city should be pursuing instead of the PACC. You did not ask respondents to include funding sources, cost of maintenance and operations, or usage of the ”different project” they would request.
Mr. Hiller’s commentary on the PACC does not recognize a basic responsibility of city government. That is to provide parks and recreation activities that are rarely self-sufficient. There is always a city subsidy, especially in the early years, to support such projects, despite a recovery ratio that could be as much as 75 percent.
I also disagree with his statements that the PACC will not improve Federal Way or help further development of the downtown. Such projects have done all three in city after city, from Eugene, Oreg., to Bellevue and New York City.
We are already in the public/private partnership mode he recommends, since the city owns the land and has hired the designers to build the performing arts portion of the project. Now we are working to site a hotel adjacent to the performance space and that will be the “private” element.
Lodging tax funds for people staying in local hotels can only be used to promote tourism. Such funds would qualify for maintenance of the PACC. Fundraisers in the early years have also been held to develop a stable fund base for maintenance and operations. We are marshaling all resources to make the PACC a valuable, efficient feature of Federal Way’s future.
H. David Kaplan, Federal Way