Letters to the Editor

Another reason to reject Prop. 1 | Federal Way letters

Unfortunately, the proposed cost of a performing arts and conference center (PACC) in downtown Federal Way has become a political issue in the elected mayor proposition (Prop. 1).

Somehow the Accountability Comes to Town (ACT) folks supporting the “strong” mayor chose to inflate the figures by many millions, with no research or support behind their statements. That has been their approach on all issues, in all their mailing pieces and advertising. This is accountability?

Because the exact format of our facility has not been decided, the closest we can compare to what the PACC would be is McIntyre Hall in Mount Vernon. It is a 651-seat performance hall and conference center, built six years ago, and cost $17.1 million. That included everything — equipment and permits, even. The land was donated, so depending on the site in downtown Federal Way, the land cost could be $2 million and $2.5 million. We don’t know if there would be a need for a parking structure. McIntyre Hall has parking space around the facility.

The estimated cost figures the city mentioned many months ago were from the peak of the building boom, with China utilizing all the steel available for the Olympic games. With the current economy, labor and materials would be reduced at least 20 percent, and probably more. There is no way this facility would cost $50 million to $70 million as the ACT people are charging. Again, they are using this exaggeration to claim an elected mayor wouldn’t allow this to move forward, when this project has been in discussion since the city incorporated. They also choose to ignore the economic benefit to the city this would bring, and the construction and operation jobs it would create.

With the nearly $6 million the city was awarded from the state for a PACC, a site could be selected and developed, and a design, which would take nearly a year to complete, could begin. At that point, whether to proceed or pause could be decided, while additional fundraising takes place. We know there is even funding through grants available to help in operation of the facility.

Nothing is more disturbing in politics than the misinformation that is tossed around at will. We welcome debate when both sides have differences, but when fabrication and distortions and — let’s face it — self-serving scare tactics are used, we remember why we really dislike politics.

Another reason to vote against Proposition 1.

Peg Altman, co-chair, PACC Fundraising Committee

Joann Piquette, president, Federal Way Coalition of the Performing Arts

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