A $36 million performing arts center proposed as a regional public facility could be built next to the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
Chuck Eaton, chairman of the Arts Center Task Force, told the Herald on Friday that his group recently reached an agreement to work with the Kennewick Public Facilities District on a 2,500-seat main theater and 300-seat small theater on the convention center campus.
"This joint collaborative effort with Kennewick would share resources and save operating costs," said Eaton in a prepared statement.
"The (task force) and their planning partners are now in a position to identify land, site preparation, design and construction costs," he added.
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The idea to place the performing arts center near the convention center has been considered since October, Eaton said, but the task force didn't pursue it in earnest until two months ago, after proponents of the proposed $35 million aquatics center said they were working with TRAC officials.
Eaton said he had informal talks "at a Starbucks" with Kennewick Public Facilities District board President Barbara Johnson and Corey Pearson, CEO at the convention center and Toyota Center and Arena.
"They took it back to their respective groups, and told us there was general agreement," Eaton said.
"We had looked at possibly putting in something that would help the performing arts community. This would be natural fit," Johnson said, adding there has been no official board decision.
"We intend to ask our architect to look at evaluating how we could help the performing arts community," she said.
Eaton noted that the performing arts center could do fundraising and establish an endowment, both of which are not available to the facilities district because it is a public agency.
"Therefore we can bring potential for covering the deficits and fund further enhancements to the facilities," he added.
Johnson said she met with Eaton several weeks ago.