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FULLERTON : Transfer of Operation of Cultural Center OKd

October 19, 1994|ZAN DUBIN

City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to begin transferring operation of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center from the city to a private foundation.

The financially strapped city has decreased its support of the center by about 30% during the past three years. Still, this year it will spend $260,000 for center operations and maintenance.

Under the new contract, responsibility for 50% of the operational costs will be transferred to the Muckenthaler Cultural Center Foundation board by 1997. The city would continue to pay for most center maintenance, major repairs, water bills and insurance.

Acting center director Joe Felz said, "We anticipate entering into a longer contract after (1997), with the expectation of eventual total privatization, (although) the city will probably always insure the center and maintain the park" surrounding it.

The board, which sets policy and programming, began discussing privatization two years ago in the wake of the first city cutbacks and now contends it can better raise funds if the center is privately run. The theory is that donors are more generous to institutions that lack city support or governance, Felz said.

The contract takes effect Nov. 1 and specifies that "the center will be operated similar to past years, offering a variety of arts exhibitions, theater programs and fund-raising events."

The center was built in 1924 as an Italian Renaissance style home for Walter and Adella Muckenthaler, who donated the property to the city in 1965.

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