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A Mission Viejo Push for Performance Hall

Times Staff Writer

A performing-arts facility is just what Mission Viejo needs “to provide the proper balance to a planned community,” City Councilman Christian W. Keena says.

Keena raised the proposal Monday at a City Council meeting, asking members to consider joining other elements of the community in a panel exploring the idea of building a 1,500-seat performance hall for the south county.

“This is a time when the business and educational community, the city and the residents can combine to work to construct a state-of-the-art facility that would host performances on a county and national scale,” he said Tuesday.

Keena said he had no specifics in mind for the hall’s location, design or cost, and he did not ask other council members to take formal action.

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The concept, he said, “is moving a lot quicker than I thought,” adding that he has received nearly 30 telephone calls supporting the idea, as well as the backing of the Mission Viejo Co.

“I don’t think funding will be a problem,” Keena said.

One possibility, he said, is the 1-year-old city combining its effort with that of Saddleback College, which has a facility of 1,200 to 1,600 seats in its master plan, although Keena noted that he is not necessarily committed to a campus site.

A 15-year, cooperative effort to build the multipurpose Irvine Theatre, now under construction, brought together Irvine’s city government with UC Irvine, the Irvine Co. and community and business groups. The 750-seat, $17.6-million facility is scheduled to open in late 1989.

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