Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

December 6, 2005 > Editorial: Deck the Halls

Editorial: Deck the Halls

The Christmas season has arrived and even with all the politically correct governmental nonsense, Santa Claus will still arrive, Christmas trees will be lit and different faiths will read whatever symbolism they like into the goodwill and cheer of the month. In the midst of the celebrations, theatre traditions abound, among them productions of The Nutcracker and musical extravaganzas. Auditoriums and theaters will be filled with the sights and sounds of live productions. Even outside the holiday season, the greater Tri-City area is alive with small and large production companies gathering larger and larger audiences, desperately looking for a local venue that can accommodate their needs.

It is sad to look around our area and wonder why, while some facilities are beautiful, we have limited attendance due to small concert halls and theatres. I have been told that a performing arts center was proposed in the past and was rejected. Well, from what I see and hear from residents, that was then and this is now. Our area is in the midst of a cultural renaissance that, I believe, will support a united effort to create a regional performing arts center. The fine arts are a vital part of any community and we have the people, tools and talent to make this happen.

This is not a task for one city. Hopefully, our political and social leaders will be able to overcome petty differences and concentrate on a grand plan to elevate the region to a position of power, both economically and culturally. Can it be done? Of course it can. It takes vision and the strength of a dream based in reality. The Washington Township can rise again to reunite the Tri-Cities and partners to the north and south creating a significant presence in the Bay Area. I am tired of being dismissed by much of the media and others around the Bay as a "black hole" of culture and commerce. While there are instances of joint efforts between local municipalities, too often our cities have looked within rather than reached out to each other. Is this something about which we can agree? Why not?

Each city has cultural, arts and business groups that overlap municipal boundary lines. These groups, with the blessing of city government, have the potential to create a task force to determine the feasibility of a regional performing arts center adequate for our needs. As a corollary measure, each city should address its own needs as well to begin the process of developing smaller resources for our performing arts community. One example is the Center Theater in Centerville (Fremont). Redevelopment has danced around the question of acquisition for several years and shown no fortitude to make things happen. The Centerville Unified Site is in the midst of significant development and along with this move to develop Centerville, redevelopment which has the money, should include the theater. Instead of vague language and millions spent on a planning process for a downtown that appears headed nowhere, its time to make redevelopment dollars do something besides build roads and pay salaries. I think roads are important, but so is the core reason for redevelopment dollars - to wipe out blight.

Can our city councils have the courage and fortitude to make this happen? Each and every civic organization in our cities should petition their council to support a regional arts center. At the local level, we the people still have some power. Let's make it happen! If your group will write a letter of support for such an initiative, this paper will publish that support.

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