After initial $2.4 million contribution, a new use agreement
is being considered.
The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) has served as
a beacon for entertainment in our town over the last few years. The building is
packed with performance technology and has steadily provided a venue for local
students, non-profit arts organizations and top name acts.
One of the reasons such a diverse group of organizations
share the stage at the PAC, is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the
city of Santa Clarita and College
of the Canyons signed prior to the PAC being constructed. It defined that 32%
of weekend nights would be dedicated for the city's usage. Under that setup,
the city can allot their time to local non-profit arts organizations like the
Santa Clarita Symphony, Master Chorale, Regional Theatre and others. This came
in response to the city donating $2.4 million to add 400 seats to the facility's
design, which qualified it as an official performing arts center.
Due to the Civic
Center Act, when district organization like COC leases out their
performing arts space to certain types of non-profit organizations, they must
only charge for the direct operating costs. Additional profits may only be
garnered by securing commercially-run acts, or other variations of non-profit
activity. For complete description of pricing exceptions, click
here and go to page 6 .
That delicate partnership between the city and COC is now
under review, as the Memorandum of Understanding has expired.
Unlike a contract, the Memorandum provides for a guiding set
of principles that were formally agreed upon back in 1999. Now 10 years later,
both sides discussing under what terms that partnership can continue.
At the heart of the matter lies some financial
responsibility for the PAC. Both COC Public Information
Officer Sue Bozman and City Parks,
Recreation and Community Services Director Rick Gould could not isolate
specific dollar amounts, as discussions are still fluid at this time, but
Bozman was able to shed some light on the source of the funding needs.
"The original MOU stated
that after the first two years of operations, the District and the City would
devise a mechanism of establishing and financing a fund for ongoing maintenance
and repair. The PAC has been operating for more than four years and I
understand that is one aspect of the current discussion," she told KHTS.
As the discussions and/or
negotiations continue, the future hangs in the balance for local non-profit
TimBen Boydston, who runs
SCV Regional Theatre productions out of the PAC twice a year, says that if the
city and COC part ways, it could impact their ability to use the space at a
This is important because the
PAC provides unsurpassed technological abilities and the largest seating arena
in Santa Clarita. Those amenities at a bargain rate create a perfect climate
for the locally produced shows.
"They're [the community]
able to buy a ticket to a fully produced Broadway musical in the range of $12
to $30...which is unheard of outside this valley," Boydston said. "There's no
other venue that allows us to do those types of performances. I think it would
be a great loss for any of the people who have enjoyed this top notch facility,
and who have really enjoyed the performances over there."
Whether or not non-profits'
ability to use the facility will be impaired has yet to be decided, as the city
and COC could reach an agreement. Even if they don't, COC could still decide to
rent out the PAC for a comparable rate.
The uncertainty, however,
has local non-profits holding their breath. Luckily they may not need to wait long.
Gould told KHTS that the matter could be brought before the City Council as
early as January 27th.