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McConnell: Build venue that reflects Sun City community needs


In a recent guest commentary (“Building a better tomorrow together,” Sun City Independent, Feb. 22, 2023), Recreation Centers of Sun City board President Kat Fimmel stated, “Clubs are the very heart of Sun City’s existence,” and urged, “Let’s not forget clubs’ needs and members’ expectations.”

Let it be noted that there are two kinds of clubs under the umbrella of the RCSC — those that exist to serve their members and those that exist to serve not only their members, but also the community at large. That second group would include the 11 performing arts clubs who collectively entertained more than 13,000 Sun City and neighboring residents in a single season recently.

At issue are the never-ending delays and obstructions thrown in the way of the current Mountain View Center campus renovation plan, including replacing the six-decade-old roller rink-turned-auditorium with an up-to-date facility suitable for live musical and theatrical performances, movies and presentations of all kinds. Planning for an up-to-date performing arts center began in the years prior to the Long Range Planning Committee’s recommendation and the board’s placement of the project on the 5-year PIF plan in 2015. Note that this is now 2023, and we now have yet another scheme to derail the project on the current board’s agenda.

It is the stated desire of some board members to “use data and facts in the decision-making process.” What do you suppose previous Long Range Planning committees generated and studied, and other committees revisited and reaffirmed their findings? What do you suppose the voices of hundreds of members who attended well-advertised and open public meetings to voice their priority for a performing arts center are worth? Some members of the current board didn’t even live here then, but does that excuse their efforts to enact revisionist history? Why didn’t they study the issues before they ran for office? Is it fair to start the process over again because they and their supporters didn’t like the outcome? Is it right that the wishes of two clubs override the efforts of many more clubs and the wishes of the community, especially since those two clubs have other facilities to use in the interim, and others have no alternate location? Have any of you consulted your children regarding their generations’ support of and participation in the fine arts? They are the very age group that will be the next homeowners of Sun City.

Somehow the current RCSC board has seen fit to arbitrarily dub the Mountain View campus as a “sports facility,” thereby artificially disqualifying a performing arts center from being located there. Despite the fact that the overwhelming public comment at the recent board meeting opposed such a move, a motion to further delay and “study” the renovation project passed the first of two readings. Does this board really want to go on record as the body that overturned years of planning and thousands of dollars already spent in order to appease a group of their supporters who voted them into office?

It is time for our community to build a venue to accommodate not only our interests, but a venue that reflects the community’s recognition of the importance of the performing arts for all generations. The voice of this community has been made clear over the years through all of the traditional avenues that characterize representative, democratic governances.

Let’s stop impeding progress!

Editor’s Note: We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email AZOpinions@iniusa.org.