Solana Beach Council awards $5K to North Coast Rep


Thanks to Solana Beach, North Coast Repertory Theatre has funds for a student production and literacy program.

The Solana Beach City Council on Feb. 11 unanimously awarded the local theater a $5,000 donation from the city’s Reserve Public Art account. The donation comes after the council approved $25,000 in grants to local organizations at the Dec. 10 meeting but was unable to give a grant to the theater.

A total of 18 groups, including North Coast Rep, sought $71,400. Although Santa Fe Christian Schools, as it has done for the past several years, also provided $15,000 of assistance to five organizations, the city could not fund all proposals.

“Even though you increased the budget this year, there was still more asked than there was to give out,” said interim City Manager David Ott.

At that time, council members suggested North Coast Rep seek funding from the Public Arts Commission, as the theater had successfully done in previous years. North Coast Rep presented its proposed program to the PAC at the Jan. 27 meeting, where commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation to fund the proposal.

The $5,000 will support the theater’s “Art with a Heart” Literacy Outreach Program, which is estimated to cost more than $10,000. The funds will help underwrite a portion of the expenses for a student production of “Aladdin, Jr.” and a companion literacy program for local schools.

North Coast Rep, which has been a staple of Solana Beach and North San Diego County for more than 30 years, is looking to collaborate with local schools on an educational component designed to help schools meet Visual and Performing, Common Core and STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Math) goals. The goal of the project, according to the staff report, is to build on two primary themes in the show, “Be Yourself” and “Freedom Is Everything.”

The donation to the program comes from the city’s Reserve Public Art, which is funded by the city’s transient occupancy tax. The account is at $147,000 and receives about $25,000 a year in transient occupancy tax funding, Ott said. The city has already allocated up to $35,000 for the entry sign and monument design for the median at Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Highland Drive.

Although Deputy Mayor David Zito approved the funding, he expressed concern about making it a practice to pull funds from other accounts.

“Right now, we have plenty of money and it’s a good use of funds,” Zito said.

“I think it’s good that they’re spending the money, because that’s what it’s there for,” said Councilman Mike Nichols. “To keep the fund balance around $100,000 is actually pretty darn good.”