The Tehachapi Performing Arts Center Foundation announced last week that escrow has closed on their chosen building site at 19415 Red Apple Ave.
According to B.J. Mitchell of the Foundation, the closing represents ten years of work by the TPAC Board of Directors to build a Performing Arts and Museum Center in Tehachapi.
She said the center will include a state-of-the-art auditorium, a reception hall, and a 3,000 square foot museum.
The museum will house four large exhibits, Mitchell said, including the history and culture of the Kawaiisu Indians, a wind energy exhibit, an old-time fiddling exhibit, and a display of the geologic history of the Tehachapi Mountains. A sculpture garden is planned as part of the landscaping.
According to the foundation, the center will be built with donations and grants, without an increase in local taxes. The TPAC Board estimates that it will create approximately 300 jobs in the Tehachapi area, 100 during construction and 200 permanent jobs. The foundation plans to rent the auditorium and reception hall to local organizations for meetings and events, and to individuals for family events such as weddings and family reunions to generate money to cover the operating expenses for the center.
Project status with county
Although TPAC has closed escrow on the property, it does not yet have permission from Kern County to build the center on the Red Apple site.
According to Kern County Planning and Community Development Director, Lorelei Oviatt, the project is still on hold and has never gone back to hearing since the matter was addressed in late 2011.
A Conditional Use Permit is still required for the property, Oviatt said, but first an Environmental Impact Report needs to be prepared. To date the TPAC has not provided the necessary forms or funding for the department to proceed with preparation of the EIR. Therefore there is no performing arts center approved for that location. Mitchell noted that TPAC is classified by the IRS as a non-profit public charity and added that the center is being planned as a "green" building so it will be environmentally sound and economically efficient, with both solar and wind energy and with a low level of water usage.
She said that Myrle McClernon with MDM Architects is the architect for the center and engineering will be handled by Pinnacle Engineering.
The Back Street Gallery at 106 W. Tehachapi Blvd. serves as an office for TPAC as well as a gallery showing and selling the work of local artists. The gallery is open on First Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m., usually with live fiddle music, and on Saturdays from 12 to 4 p.m.