An ad hoc committee has called on the city of Alexandria to more than double its financial support for the performing arts next year.
In a report presented to the city council last week, the Mayor's Task Force on the Performing Arts called Alexandria an "ideal location for an expanding performing arts scene." The 19-member task force was appointed last February.
The report cites the city's "ambiance and population mix" as ideal for supporting the performing arts. It states that Alexandria should become a performing arts center for all of Northern Virginia and that the city's reputation as a "living historical city" would be greatly enhanced by a lively performing arts scene.
Task force Chairman Roger Machanic cites the city's changing education level and broadening business base as reasons for this growing support.
The report calls for a two-track approach. On the first track, it calls for increasing the city's direct financial support to the performing arts from its current level of $47,000 to $100,000 in fiscal 1986, and to $150,000 in fiscal 1987. It also recommends that Alexandria encourage the development of several satellite performing arts centers in larger commercial developments throughout the city. Additionally, the report calls on the city to coordinate the use of performing arts facilities and to promote the arts.
Research into the size, type and location of the satellite centers; a survey of current and future interest in performing arts in the city and the need for a central center would cost the city another $50,000 to $75,000, the report states.
The task force expects the city to follow the first track from 1985 until 1989. The report recognizes that attempting to construct a major performing arts facility is not "politically or economically feasible" at this time. The report says the city can best serve the needs of the performing arts with the satellite centers until "a large and expanding demonstrated interest in the performing arts in the city is proven."
Many factors must be considered in building both the satellite and central performing arts centers, the report states. Professional appraisal and assistance would be needed in such areas as the ability of a facility to accommodate varying audience sizes and uses; site locations with regard to residential and commercial areas; access to public transportation; parking availability; promotion and marketing, and specifications such as accoustics and architecture.
The report suggests that the growing areas around Alexandria's Metro stations are ideal for satellite centers. It cites the north Waterfront area, the old Ford plant and the Mark Center near the Radisson Hotel. Mark Center is in the city's fast-growing West End.
Machanic says that "three or four major developers have been approached" about locating satellite centers in developments they are constructing in Alexandria. The task force has suggested offering zoning and code modifications to encourage developers to locate satellite centers in their projects. Among those recommended are relaxed density, parking and height requirements.
Finally, the task force has called on the city to create an organization to promote and coordinate performing arts in the city and to appoint a permanent task force to make recommendations on how to implement the goals listed in this report.
The City Council has referred the recommendations of the task force to various city departments for study.