EARLY CHRISTMAS:

Members of the Santa Barbara City Council played Santa Claus on
Monday, dispensing $8.5 million in Redevelopment Agency funds to
organizations large and small. The 800-pound gorilla in the
proceedings was the Granada Theatre, whose politically connected
backers walked away with the largest commitment of $1.5 million.
Although this was $1 million less than requested, councilmembers –
who’d already given the Granada restoration effort $3 million –
opted to spread the wealth. One million dollars went to develop a
joint public media production facility and rehearsal space in the
heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. The Ensemble Theatre was
awarded $1.25 million to fix its current digs at the Alhecama
Theatre; Arts Alive! – an arts instruction and performance facility
on the industrial lower Eastside – netted $8,900; and the Santa
Barbara Historical Society received $100,000 to build
climate-controlled facilities in which to store documents

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