PAEC is a community assest

I am writing in response to Roger Flygare’s letter (“Not a field of dreams yet,” May 18) regarding the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center and his philosophy regarding it. I do not believe that those who envisioned and tirelessly worked toward building a performing arts center over the last 25 years or more ever considered it a business or a way to make money for the city.

The PAEC was meant to be an asset to the community – but not all assets are financial in nature. It is a cultural asset in our downtown core that will increasingly draw people downtown. It has value beyond any amount of money it might bring in. It is a gathering place for the community and a source of pride for many in the community; a place where you can go and be entertained and visit with people you don’t get to see on a regular basis – including getting to meet many of the performers. All without going to Seattle or Tacoma.

It is a place where our local performance groups can be seen and heard. Do people really think an entertainment company would book local groups or charge ticket prices that retirees like me and other working people could afford? Would the Federal Way Chorale be able to hold a silent auction during intermission to fund scholarships if the PAEC were being run by a for-profit company?

It is also a place with space for educational activities linked to the arts such as Book It Theatre’s presentation there during the grand opening. The PAEC is also a wonderful place to hold a wedding or reception in your hometown or a conference if you are a local business.

The PAEC should be a selling point when attracting businesses to our community as our parks and green spaces are. Dumas Bay Centre is also such an asset even with the challenges it faces regarding accessibility and parking. To attract quality companies with living-wage jobs we need to offer quality of life. I know that personally the PAEC has added to my quality of life through better access to the performing arts.

Vicki Carey, Federal Way

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