Financial realities must be faced on arts center

info@islandpacket.comSeptember 9, 2013 

So the historically financially troubled Arts Center of Coastal Carolina makes another headline. It has been a financial disaster since opening in 1996. It has not, cannot and will not ever be solvent. Why is the Hilton Head Island Town Council blind to this increasingly obvious situation? Why do they continue to allocate tax dollars to a lost cause?

Would local taxpayers support a shooting range, gun club, minor league baseball team or a marina if it had this type of financial history? Yes, I know, the arts center is all about the arts and culture. The town has even hired a consultant (paying them nearly $80,000) to investigate and report what they already know; the arts center is not self-supporting, and in all likelihood, never will be. Why are town officials postponing the inevitable?

Guess what, folks? Hilton Head is not a cultural Mecca; it is a destination for outdoor recreational opportunities, such as the beach, golf, tennis, boating and bike riding -- not for seeing "The Sound of Music" for the ninth time. Arts centers and other cultural venues are barely surviving in many large cities; they don't stand a chance here.

Enough is enough. The arts center must sink or swim on its own, getting support from patrons and donors. Taxpayers should no longer be required to give it yet another chance, not when we have roads falling apart and other more pressing needs. How about the boating \ center, pickleball courts, a kayak launching area and a park along Skull Creek?

David Thompson

Hilton Head Island

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