Our View: Entertainment and Arts Center Will Be a Welcome Addition Here

By: A-J Editorial Board
From: A-J Media

It isn’t surprising the reaction to the announcement of the planned Entertainment and Performing Arts Center in Lubbock was described by the CH Foundation’s Kay Sanford as “euphoric.”

Local people who recognize the valuable asset the center will be to Lubbock are obviously excited about it. And the privately funded aspect of the project is quieting to those who would have been concerned if the facility were planned to be funded by tax dollars.

Building the center with private funds, however, has the downside of delaying the project. It means money has to be raised before plans can proceed.

The CH Foundation and the Helen Jones Foundation have stepped up impressively with commitments for $20 million toward the construction of the $85 million project.

But that leaves a lot of fundraising to be accomplished, especially considering they also intend to raise money for maintenance and operations, said Tim Collins, chairman of the Lubbock Entertainment & Performing Arts Association.

Other tasks ahead — less Herculean ones than raising $65-plus million — include working out a master development plan and working with the city regarding the preferred site at the current Department of Public Safety headquarters at Mac Davis Lane and Avenue K.

The association also seeks public acceptance for the center and wants the community to make sure it isn’t seen only as a venue for highbrow performances.

“It’s going to be a wonderful facility for all forms of entertainment, not just fine arts,” Sanford said.

Our editorial board can easily envision performances of Tejano music and other forms of entertainment that will appeal to people throughout the community. Making certain the entire community is represented on the leadership group will help others develop the same vision.

LEPAA member Rob Allison said the facility will be for the region as well as for Lubbock. Having the regional representatives on board would help as well.

We appreciated the stipulation the facility be located downtown. That will make it not only a developmental catalyst for the downtown area but also a unifying element to all parts of Lubbock.

A performing arts center was proposed by Lubbock’s Downtown Redevelopment Commission in 2008 and was frequently mentioned in recent Imagine Lubbock Together sessions.

The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce took a role in overseeing the feasibility and assessment study for a entertainment center and in the creation of LEPAA, said Chamber president Eddie McBride.

Tentative plans are for the center to have 2,000 seats, but entertainment event promoters have indicated it could be more appealing to them if it had a capacity more along the lines of 2,300 seats.

We’re glad the final determination hasn’t been made and hope the best decision is made for ensuring future success.

The facility is an exciting project for Lubbock. It will undoubtedly attract a greater number of crowd-pleasing events such as concerts and plays to the city, but it also will serve as the downtown catalyst and could even be a factor in attracting new residents to Lubbock.

We hope the plans generate enthusiasm throughout the residents of the city and region. And may the fundraising and other aspects of the project move forward smoothly.