ECPAC

REVITALIZING ECPAC: WILL THE FAT FINALLY LADY GET TO SING?

 

 

El Cajon City Council approves negotiations with major concert promoter Live Nation to manage shuttered East County Performing Arts Center.

By Paul Kruze

 

February 17, 2017 (El Cajon)—As the old saying goes, “It isn’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”  Just a few years ago, the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) faced possible demise.  It’s remained closed since December 2009.  But the curtain may soon rise again, bringing back stellar entertainment to our region.

LIVE NATION SEEKS TO MANAGE A RESTORED EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dancers performed in front of ECPAC in its heydey.

February 9, 2017 (El Cajon) – The long-shuttered East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) may finally be reopened under management of Live Nation, which claims to be the global leader in live entertainment. According to the company’s website,  Live Nation operates in 7 nations, has produce shows in nearly 40 countries, and has a concert somewhere in the world every 20 minutes.

The El Cajon City Council will vote Tuesday, February 14th at its 3 p.m. meeting on authorizing the City manager to negotiate a draft management agreement with Live Nation .  View agenda and attachments. 

PROPOSAL TO REJECT ECPAC BID, MOVE FORWARD ON ANIMAL SHELTER AMONG AGENDA ITEMS FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: ECPAC lobby

December 6, 2015 (El Cajon ) – El Cajon’s Council has a number of important topics on its agenda for the Council meeting Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Several are on the consent calendar – including a proposal to reject the only bid received for construction renovations on the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  Although 30 prospective bidders obtained bid packages, only one bid was received.  That bid, from Kinsman Construction Inc. in San Diego, was for over $3.7 million – far above the $2.7 to $2.9 million that an engineer estimated the work should cost.

EL CAJON ISSUES BID REQUEST FOR PERFORMING ARTS CENTER REPAIRS

 

 

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Performers on stage at ECPAC in brighter days

April 10, 2015 (El Cajon)--It has been said that “the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” If all goes as planned, the fat lady could be soon be setting a date to sing on the stage at the shuttered and embattled East County Performing Art Center (ECPAC) sooner than later.

In a move that pleased local community activists who have decried the prolonged shutdown of downtown El Cajon’s entertainment venue, the City of El Cajon released an extensive request for bids to fix the theater’s leaky roof and bring about extensive technical upgrades throughout the facility.

PROTEST PLANNED THURSDAY OVER MEGA-CHURCH PLAN TO LEASE ECPAC; LEGAL ACTION TO HALT DEAL THREATENED IF CITY PROCEEDS

 

 

City rejected earlier proposal by citizens' group

Theater managers speak out, object to City's actions, CityBeat reports

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2014 (El Cajon) – Citizens Oversight Panels (COPS) is organizing a rally tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. outside the East County Performing Arts Center at 210 East Main Street in El Cajonon to protest a proposed partnership between the City of El Cajon and Rock Church to lease the theater. 

“We will be delivering a 30-plus page letter spelling out the legal case against the city should they go ahead with their plans to lease this public theater to the Rock Church, which is clearly unconstitutional,” says Ray Lutz, founder of COPS, on a Facebook page for the event. “Come and support the reopening of ECPAC as a performing arts and entertainment center and not as the new location for a mega church.”

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTES TO MOVE FORWARD ON ROCK CHURCH LEASE OF ECPAC, BUILD 2ND FACILITY ON CITY LAND FOR SHARED USE

 

 

Opponents voice constitutional concerns over deal, file a  Grand Jury complaint

By Janis Russell

August 13, 2014 (El Cajon)-- At yesterday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, members voted 4-0 to move forward with discussions on a partnership between the East County Performing Arts Center and the Rock Church. Pro Tem Mayor Gary Kendrick recused himself from this agenda item because of a “financial conflict of interest.”

The proposal drew strong support from church members and local business interests, but garnered strong opposition from some arts supporters and citizens concerned over constitutional issues.  Today, Karen Marie Otter, an El Cajon resident and former Congressional candidate, informed East County Magazine that she has sent a letter of complaint to the County Grand Jury asserting that she believes the deal violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, which requires separation of church and state.

ROCK CHURCH PLAN TO LEASE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ART CENTER ON COUNCIL AGENDAY TODAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2014 (El Cajon)—El Cajon’s City Council will vote at today’s 3 p.m. meeting on directing staff to pursue a draft final agreement with Rock Church for establishing a partial lease of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  The deal would also authorize Rock Church to lease land adjacent to the theater to construct a new building for the church that would be partially available for city use.

The measure is on the consent calendar, however ECM has received several e-mails from community members who are concerned  about separation of church state issues and about the long-term loss of the theater for public use during a significant number of hours each year.  They want to see any leasing decisions halted until the city follows up on its promises to hire a professional theater management company.

COUNCIL READIES TO SEEK TENANTS FOR EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Updated April 11, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday asked the City Manager to prepare a request for proposal for groups seeking to rent or lease space at the East County Performing Arts Center. 

The theater has been closed for several years, in need of major repairs. Recently Council voted to allocate funds for renovations and is now moving forward to attract additional tenants in hopes of reopening the theater  next year.

But some community members testified that they believe the city should first make good on its promise to hire a professional theater management company, before making commitment to lock in time blocks for groups such as the Rock Church, which wants to use the theater for church services on Sundays.

EL CAJON WEIGHS LEASING ECPAC TO ROCK CHURCH; COUNCIL TO CONSIDER FEB. 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2014 (El Cajon ) – El Cajon City Council and its redevelopment agency are negotiating “price and terms for the potential lease” of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  A lease could allow the church to rentl use of the facility for a specified period of time each month or year as an anchor tenant, but is not a management contract, which is set to be negotiated separately.

“Apparently, El Cajon City is negotiating with The Rock Church behind closed doors to lease ECPAC,” said Ray Lutz, chair of the Save ECPAC committee and founder of Citizens Oversight, a watchdog citizens group.

EL CAJON COUNCIL POSTPONES ECPAC NAME CHANGE

  

Kaboom! and New City Seal/Logo/Motto in works

By Janis Mork

October 11, 2013 (El Cajon)- At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Mark Lewis made a request to rename East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) to El Cajon Performing Arts Center. Lewis insisted, “Now is the time to name it, because we’re in El Cajon..”

At the suggestion of Mayor Pro Tem Bill Wells, however, Council opted to delay a decision until mid-2014, when a manager for ECPAC is expected to be in place.

REOPENED DELAYED AT EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER UNTIL END OF 2014

 

By Paul Kruze

It has been said that the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings.  Those who had hoped El Cajon’s East County Performing Arts Center would be open by December may have a bit more waiting to do until the proverbial fat lady sings.

While El Cajon City Councilman Gary Kendrick had set a target date of December 1, 2013 for the much anticipated reopening of the theater which has been shuttered for nearly three years, it may be at least another year until the curtain opens and the stage lights come on.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTES TO MOVE FORWARD AND HIRE AN ARCHITECT FOR ECPAC

 

By Janis Mork

July 17, 2013 (El Cajon)- At the July 9 meeting, El Cajon City Council unanimously voted to authorize the city manager to issue a formal request for qualifications to hire an architect to prepare and provide construction documents ready for bid on renovations to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).

According to Ray Lutz from Citizens Oversight, who also organized a Save ECPAC group last year when the theater was threatened with possible demolition, “This is the best news we have had on this issue for over a year."

THE SHOWS WILL GO ON: EL CAJON COUNCIL BACKS FUNDS TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Update June 21, 2013: The Council's final vote, originally scheduled for July 25, has been postponed to July 9 due to a key staffer's vacation schedule.

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2013 (El Cajon ) – The El Cajon City Council has allotted $2.8 million in its budget to restore and reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC)  next summer, Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM.  “I proposed  that we open up the performing arts center and everyone was on board with that. We’re out of the great recession,” he added. “This is a time to do great things for the city.”

The money  set aside and will be available as of July 1, 2013,”said Kendrick.   Council voted unanimously for a preliminary budget with the ECPAC funding and will take a final vote on Tuesday, July 9.  “People interested in the performing arts center should definitely come for Tuesday’s meeting.”

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTES TO PURSUE PARTNERSHIP WITH GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT TO RESTORE ECPAC AND ADD MULTI-USE FACILITY

 

 

By Janis Mork

April 25, 2013 (El Cajon)-El Cajon’s City Council took a major step at Tuesday’s meeting toward revitalizing and reopening the East County Performing Arts Center.  

Council voted unanimously in favor of sending Pro-Tem Mayor Bill Wells and Councilmember Gary Kendrick to meet with two representatives from the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) to discuss feasibility of refurbishing ECPAC and also constructing a multi-use facility in front of the theater. Together, the two facilities would serve as a magnet for arts and culture in East County under the vision put forth by supporters.

Councilman Gary Kendrick spoke in favor of the plan. “I’m open to re-opening this. We need to fix the roof and take care of ADA issues. I spoke with Priscilla Schreiber (current GUHSD board member),” he explained. “The topic of ECPAC came up. Her idea is for the district to build a multi-use facility in front of the performing arts center rather than 10 multi-use facilities on each campus.”

EDITORIAL: TIME FOR LEADING PLAYERS TO TAKE ACTION TOWARD REOPENING EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

April 23, 2013 (El Cajon) – This afternoon, the spotlight will shine on the El Cajon City Council as it considers whether to enter into discussions with the Grossmont Union High School District on a potential partnership to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  The plan potentially could also including building a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility adjacent to ECPAC, filling a community need for meeting space as well as an additional entertainment venue to create a broader cultural hub for the community.

It’s time for city leaders to take center stage and provide leadership to reopen ECPAC, the jewel of East County’s cultural community.  Shuttered in disrepair for several years, the darkened theater has negatively impacted businesses downtown as well as arts lovers across our region. 

A partnership with the school district could be a win-win situation, though there are challenges that must be explored and overcome.

EL CAJON COUNCIL TO CONSIDER ECPAC PARTNERSHIP WITH GUHSD AT MEETING APRL 23

By Miriam Raftery

April 19, 2013 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, April 23, the El Cajon City Council will weigh creating an ad hoc committee to explore discussions with the Grossmont Union High School District Board on a potential partnership to revive the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  The proposal could also include opening a new multi-use facility adjacent to the theater, in addition to restoring and reopening the theater itself.

"It's potentially beneficial (for the district), a great use for the East County region," City Manager Doug Williford (photo, left) said, the Union-Tribune reported. "However even without (the district as a partner), we're going to re-open it. There are only three or four venues like it - Golden Hall in downtown San Diego, Escondido and Poway. These are rare facilities. Arts and events centers are important components to a community. And this goes well beyond the city's boundaries."

GUHSD MOVES FORWARD ON TALKS WITH EL CAJON TO REVIVE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Paul Kruze

April 11, 2013 (El Cajon)--Members of the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) Board on Wednesday night decided in principle (with no formal vote) to begin exploratory talks with the City of El Cajon on becoming a partner in the operation of the troubled East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) , as well as build a multi-purpose conference center adjacent to the theater. 

The Board also voted 4-1 (with Priscilla Schreiber voting “no”)  to endorse building a 325-seat performing arts center on the campus of Grossmont High School at the cost of $15.1 million dollars.

Representing GUHSD on the ad hoc committee will be board president Jim Kelly and board member Jim Stieringer.

COULD ECPAC REOPEN WITH HELP FROM THE GUHSD? SCHOOL BOARD TO HEAR OPTIONS FOR THEATERS APRIL 10

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Multiple sources have advised ECM that Wednesday night’s meeting of the Grossmont Union High School Board will include a discussion on theater options to meet the needs of students--and, perhaps, the broader East County community.  Options are set to be raised under the Board President’s report, item VI(b) on the agenda. 

The discussion is expected to center around whether a new events center should be built at Grossmont High School as well as whether the district should consider partnering with the City of El Cajon to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center.

LILY SCHWORM RUNS TO LEGALIZE CHICKENS, CUT SOCIAL SERVICES IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

September 11, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Lily Schorm, a teacher, learned some lessons while attending El Cajon City Council meetings. Now she’s among seven candidates running for three Council seats in November.

“It’s illegal to have chickens in El Cajon,” says Schworm, in an exclusive interview with ECM.  She has been working to persuade the City Council to legalize chicken ownership.  During that process, she saw Council  approve expenditures that she considered wasteful.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

 
August 23, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include: 
 
LOCAL
  • City races start to heat up in East County (UT San Diego)
  • 11-year-old accused of fatally stabbing friend found mentally incompetent to stand trial (Santee.Patch.com)
  • Retired Border Patrol union president indicted (10 News)
  • Group hoping to save ECPAC continues fight (UT San Diego)
  • Where parolees live in San Diego: map (Voice of San Diego)
  • San Diego Gas & Electric wind projects draw national notice (KCET)
  • As heat dries land and lake, asthma fears rise in Imperial County(KPBS)
  • Summer of hate concert came to El Cajon (San Diego Citybeat)
  • High costs of bonds shocks Poway Unified School District (UT San Diego)
 
STATE
  • Democratic lawmakers move to oppose rewriting CA environmental laws (Sacramento Bee)
  • SoCal groves report new cases of lethal citrus bug (Sacramento Bee)
  • Man dies after contracting rare rodent disease at Yosemite (CBS)
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

COMMUNITY MEETING AUGUST 13 ON REOPENING EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

August 2, 2012 (El Cajon ) – The public is encouraged to attend a meeting hosted by the ECPAC Foundation on August 13 at 6 p.m. at the Palms Restaurant and Banquet Hall, 143 E.Main Street in El Cajon.

ECPAC FOUNDATION MAKES ITS CASE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2012 (El Cajon)– At a press conference on June 22, members of the new ECPAC Foundation provided details to media on their proposal to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) in time for the city’s centennial celebration in November.

Leaders presented City Manager Doug Williford with their 60-page plan in a meeting that extended from a planned 10-15 minutes to an hour and a half.  Foundation members expressed optimism, noting that Williford asked many questions and showed genuine interest in plans to revive the theater with innovative and cost-effective improvements.

ECPAC FOUNDATION TO SUBMIT PLAN TODAY TO SAVE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (ECPAC)

 

Public urged to attend and support call to save the theater; plan will reopen venue before City’s Centennial celebration this fall and calls for phased renovation

June 21, 2012 (El Cajon) – After objecting to a proposal by the City of El Cajon to demolish East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) and build a hotel on the site, community members have united around a goal of saving the theater, forming the ECPAC Foundation.

At a recent meeting, Council voted to reject a developer’s proposal to tear down the theater, then invited ECPAC Foundation to submit a proposal to save the venue.

Today, the organization will hold a press conference at El Cajon City Hall, 200 Civic Center Way, at 3 p.m. to outline its proposal.  The group will submit an extensive plan for operating the theater to the City Manager at 3:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to come show support to save ECPAC.

EL CAJON MERCHANT HOPES REOPENING THEATER WILL BRING BUSINESS BACK TO DOWNTOWN

Click screen above to view our exclusive video interview

June 12, 2012 (El Cajon)--Many of the restaurants in downtown El Cajon opened their doors several years ago because of the proximity of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) on Main Street. One of those is Domenico Donato’s “Mangia Bene” Italian restaurant located directly across from the theater which opened a decade ago. 

ECPAC SAVED! EL CAJON COUNCIL REJECTS PLAN TO TEAR DOWN THEATER AND BUILD HOTEL ON SITE

Update May 28, 2012 with a video news report by Paul Kruz, exclusive to East County Magazine, including interviews with the developer and Councilman Wells:

 

By Janis Mork and Miriam Raftery

May 23, 2012 (El Cajon)--El Cajon Council drew applause yesterday when by a unanimous decision, Council members rejected a proposal to tear down the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) and build a hotel on the site.

Instead, Council agreed to work with community members and a newly formed ECPAC Foundation to reopen the theater long heralded as a centerpiece of El Cajon's downtown revitalization. 

 

EL CAJON COUNCIL TO HOLD WORKSHOP TODAY ON TEARING DOWN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

ECPAC Foundation, SAVE ECPAC groups  plan rally to save theater at 1 pm;  workshop at 2 p.m.; Council meeting at 3 p.m.

May 22, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Today at 1:30 p.m., the El Cajon Council will hold a special workshop on the future of the East County Performing Arts Center.   Council has given an exclusive 180-day agreement to a developer to propose plans for tearing down the theater and building a hotel.  Today, developer E. Neal Arthur will present his plans at the workshop.

SAVE ECPAC GROUP TAKES BACKSTAGE TOUR TO ASSESS THEATER'S CONDITION

May 3, 2012 (El Cajon) – It's been two years since the East County Performing Arts Center went dark.  But on Monday, a group of concerned citizens seeking to "Save ECPAC" took a behind-the-scenes tour last week to determine the extent of repairs needed to reopen the cherished community landmark. 

Although challenges are steep, the good news is that the cost for critical repairs appears to be significantly less than the estimates  provided by the city for a more ambitious renovation.

SAVE ECPAC GROUP TO HOST MEETING APRIL 9 IN EL CAJON

April 6, 2012 (El Cajon) – A bipartisan group seeking to save the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) held its first meeting late last month.  Others concerned with joining the effort are invited to attend a larger meeting set for Monday, April 9 at 5 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the East County Chamber of Commerce office at 201 South Magnolia Street in El Cajon.

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