Recreation may save LATC

After three months of limbo, plans for the Los Angeles Theater Center may soon move forward.

The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is due to vote on two proposals at its Dec. 17 meeting, one of which is a roundabout plan to allot CRA monies to the LATC through Parks and Recreation.

“State law says that redevelopment agencies cannot fund operations in municipal buildings,” said Don Spivak with the CRA. “But right now the Cultural Affairs Department needs $ 350,000 to help fund the maintenance costs at LATC.”

City financing proposed

The plan the CAD has proposed is for the city to pay the $ 900,000 in annual operating costs for the building–something the city council refused to do when the Los Angeles Theater Center Operating Co. was housed in the building.

It was that refusal that helped write the charter for LATC’s financial demise.

The company went bankrupt in October 1991.

Now, 14 months later, CAD general manager Adolfo Nodal is pushing for the CRA and the city council to make the commitment to fund operations at the site.

The plan calls for the CAD to spend $ 400,000 annually, with an additional $ 350,000 from the CRA and $ 200,000 in fees expected to be generated from a consortium of artists taking up residence in the building.

Multiyear commitment sought

“We need a multiyear commitment from the CRA and we’re going to go after it, for at least three years,” Nodal said Thursday.

Yet Spivak said it was his understanding that after this initial outlay of $ 350,000 to the CAD, via Parks and Rec, that the CRA was hoping the CAD would find the money elsewhere next year.

“I believe the CAD is and will be looking at whatever other funding sources it can think of,” Spivak said.

Since it’s illegal for the CRA to simply give the money to the CAD for the theater building’s operations, the plan is for the city to find capital projects that are already in the budget which the CRA can legally fund.

That in turn will free up city funds that can then be directed to LATC.

Since these capital projects would not necessarily be ongoing, this entire process would have to be repeated next year if the CRA were to again help out LATC.

Theater equipment purchase

The second proposal the CRA board will vote on will be a one-time $ 190,000 payment to buy theater equipment from the now-defunct LATC operating company. The equipment includes such things as lights and sound systems.

If both proposals are approved, they will then go before the city council for a vote, probably in mid-January.

As for the artistic consortium that the CAD has proposed as a proper tenant for the four-theater complex, Nodal said it was still together and waiting for the city’s approval.

“I think once things are approved, everything will start happening very quickly at LATC,” Nodal said.

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