SIMI VALLEY : Council OKs Loan for Cultural Arts Center

Still waiting to be welcomed into the intimate surroundings of Simi Valley's new Cultural Arts Center, the City Council has approved a loan to get the theater operating by November.

The $108,000 loan, approved Monday night, will go to the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center Commission to help put together the opening night gala and to start a fund-raising program.

The city had already lent the commission about $138,000 last year, hoping that the center would be open by February this year, but construction delays and problems with the contract have postponed completion of the center until November, said Brian Gabler, an assistant city manager.

The loan is meant to hold the commission over until the Cultural Arts Center begins to have regular shows and fund-raising can begin in earnest, commission President Peggy Sadler said.

The city also spent about $3.9 million renovating the 71-year-old former Methodist church. The money went to construct the 290-seat theater, adding a new stage, and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system.

Sadler said the commission has already begun an ambitious fund-raising program, with the hope of eventually raising more than $2 million for an endowment that will run the center into the future.

To kick off the fund-raising and open the center, a black-tie gala opening is planned Nov. 3 and 4, featuring Rita Moreno.

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