It makes sense for the city to consider raising rental rates at Century II for the first time since 2000, especially with the downtown convention center’s annual operating deficit at nearly $500,000 last year. But city leaders must take care not put the public facility out of the price range of community groups. And nothing must shake the city’s commitment to Century II’s anchor tenants – the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Music Theatre of Wichita and the comparative newbie, Wichita Grand Opera. True, the nonprofit organizations’ use of the facility is heavily discounted, and therefore subsidized. But the expansive public venue was built in 1969 to serve and celebrate the arts, as well as to try to make money by booking conventions. City leaders shouldn’t confuse those two missions.
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