Letters to the Editor

PACC survey shows some don’t understand project | Letter

The city plans to build a Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) in the downtown core. The PACC will accommodate conferences, seminars, events, nonprofit and community meetings.   - Courtesy City of Federal Way
The city plans to build a Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) in the downtown core. The PACC will accommodate conferences, seminars, events, nonprofit and community meetings.
— image credit: Courtesy City of Federal Way

The Mirror’s recent survey on the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) didn’t result in many surprises, but again emphasized in the written comments that some really don’t understand that this is much more than a performance hall.

One participant who stated that the “nearby cities already have facilities to accommodate arts groups” is unaware that those facilities are already heavily scheduled. The proposed conference center space will accommodate a multitude of activities, many having no relation to the arts.

They could be operating all day, every day, not just on weekends or for single special events. The Auburn Performing Arts Center is a good example, with reservations for use often needed a year in advance. They don’t have actual conference center space, either. As we’ve mentioned before, hobby shows, science and health fairs, fundraising dinners, cultural festivals, reunions, touring exhibits, from quilts to historical displays, for example, could use the conference space, yet most comments were directed at the performance hall only.

Some who commented didn’t realize much comparison work has been done on the pro forma, besides exploring potential fundraising activities as well as grants that can be applied for maintenance and operation costs. Others are available for specific items within the facility, such as sound and lighting.

The person who wrote, “If the elite want it, the elite should create a nonprofit to pay for it” is amazingly uninformed. Would only “the elite” attend all of the events listed above? We have a full page of potential uses for the PACC, once it is built. Many events would attract attendees from a wide range of areas. That’s an integral facet of the economic development in the downtown core.

The funds involved in this project could not be utilized for more police or most of the other suggestions. They are funds from a variety of sources, primarily designated for economic development, or in the case of the private pledged contributions, for costs of the performance hall.

“Federal Way doesn’t have the population to support the PACC” was another statement. Recent studies have shown we are similar in demographics to Edmonds, whose performance center is doing very well, and also McIntyre Hall in Mt. Vernon, a similar facility to the one we propose.

The Blue Ribbon Panel findings is an incredible opportunity to have a detailed report on the entire PACC project, based on the best facts available. It is an evaluation by a group of nine dedicated people with a variety of backgrounds and expertise. It is fervently hoped it will settle many questions about this project, so the Council members can move forward with confidence.

Joann Piquette, Federal Way


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