City officials this week provided a big boost in the long-running endeavor to build a major performing arts center in Bellevue.
The City Council on Monday approved a memorandum of understanding with Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE) to advance public and private efforts in support of the proposed Tateuchi Center. Earlier this year the council identified developing a performing arts center in Bellevue as a high priority.
The MOU means Bellevue will work closely with PACE to raise public awareness about the facility. The city will explore legal issues and a variety of funding options for the council to consider. PACE is focusing on re-constituting its board of directors and re-energizing its fundraising campaign.
PACE's board of directors had already approved the memorandum of understanding, and contributed $600,000 to help with the renewed fundraising effort. The council, as part of its Monday action, also directed that $63,200 be made available to pay for legal, financial and public engagement tasks associated with the MOU.
Together, Bellevue and PACE will explore forming a consortium with other Eastside cities to pursue regional approaches for arts facilities serving the Eastside. Officials from the two organizations are meeting regularly and keeping the council up to date as the work progresses.
Tateuchi Center is a proposed 2,000-seat, state-of-the-art performance venue that would be located downtown on donated property at the corner of 106th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 10th Street. So far, PACE has raised $63 million in pledges toward a funding goal of $160 million. The City of Bellevue previously contributed $2 million toward the project, named for the Tateuchi Foundation, which has pledged $25 million.
"We're very pleased to be setting out on this partnership and trying to find a path forward," Mayor Claudia Balducci said on Monday. "There's still quite a ways to go, but this is the closest we've ever been to being able to realize the vision for a performing arts center on the Eastside."
In March, Balducci appointed Councilmember John Stokes to serve as the council's liaison in collaborating with PACE.
Efforts to build a performing arts center in Bellevue stretch back more than 30 years and the City of Bellevue has been closely involved the entire time.
More information is available online (http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketRegularSession5-19-1411a.pdf).
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